SAN DIEGO - A millionaire whose billboard in a San Diego neighborhood sparked controversy said he put up the personal ad in hopes of finding love.
In a statement sent to 10News Tuesday afternoon, Marc Paskin said:
"A week ago Monday I put up a billboard, with the intent to meet someone special, my soul mate. Last Thursday, the story of my billboard went world wide, on the internet, TV, and newspapers. My only desire was to meet someone here in San Diego, but in the past 4 days I have received over 15,000 e mails from women that want to meet me-from all over the US, and all over the world.
Vandals took down the board, and I decided not to put it back up. I dont need any more e mails.
Everyone has a right to find love and happiness-I just went about it in a different way. It is a success beyond my wildest dreams.
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Feliz Navidad"
Paskin, a La Jolla real estate mogul who appeared on the ABC reality show "Secret Millionaire," had a billboard posted last week in the mainly Latino area of Barrio Logan that bore the message: "All I want for Christmas is a Latina Girlfriend."
A day after it went up, somebody already had vandalized the billboard -- located off Interstate 5 and 28th Street -- by peeling off Paskin's email address.
By the weekend, the message was entirely gone. All that was left of the billboard is a blank white space with a few holes.
Some in the community had varying opinions about the personal ad.
"It's almost like the mail-order bride thing but stranger," said San Diegan Yvette Jackson. "If I didn't think I would get in trouble for something like that, I probably would have kind of vandalized it a little myself. It just was insulting. It was really insulting."
Dan Alioa, who works at Union Electric -- which sits directly beneath the sign -- said he chuckled and shook his head when he first saw it.
"I don't agree with that kind of advertising, but if he's got a good heart, lucky him," Alioa said.
Leslie Lepe works across the street from the billboard. She said she saw someone up there a couple of nights ago.
"It was somebody that decided that he didn't like it because he didn't have any tools to take it down or anything," she said.
Lepe said the billboard seemed more like a joke to her or maybe something else.
"Like publicity, I would think so," she said.
Paskin, who is also known as "Uncle Kokua," stars in another reality show bearing his alias. It aired locally in Hawaii, and in it, he also gives away money and appears to have a girlfriend named Lupita.
The television station in Hawaii said Paskin is in talks right now for a second season of his reality show.
The billboard company said that though the ad may have been vandalized, it is now down at the request of the advertiser. The company also says it currently has no contract to reinstall the ad.
There's no word on whether Paskin has found a girlfriend.