PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia cheesesteak entrepreneur Joey Vento is hopping mad because the city has turned down his offer of two horse trailers for the Philadelphia Police Department.

The city’s reason for the rejection: Vento wanted his name on plaques on the trailers.

Vento, owner of “Geno’s Steaks” in South Philadelphia, offered to give the city two horse trailers as the police department brings back its mounted patrol unit.  The catch was that he wanted a small plaque on each trailer signifying that he had donated the trailers.

“Which I thought was a good thing, because you might get other businesspeople to say, ‘You know what, I might contribute,’ ” Vento told KYW Newsradio this morning.

But the Nutter administration declined the offer because Vento demanded the plaques.

“That is something the police department and the city are not interesting in having done,” says the mayor’s spokesman, Mark McDonald.

Vento says it’s really a personal dispute between him and Mayor Nutter.

“He’s got a vendetta against me, and I can prove it by all this stuff.  And it’s because I beat the city in court with the ‘Speak English’ sign,” Vento says.

vento joey english sign23 Joey Vento Says Mayor Nutter Rejected His Horse Trailer DonationIn June 2006, Vento grabbed headlines for two small signs posted at his steak shop stating, “This is America: When Ordering, Please Speak English.”

Vento said at the time he posted the signs due to concerns over the debate on immigration reform and the increasing number of people who couldn’t order in English.

The city’s Human Relations Commission tried to force Vento to remove the sign but failed in its court effort.

McDonald, the mayor’s spokesman, said today that Nutter had nothing to do with the decision to reject Vento’s donation.

Reported by KYW City Hall Bureau chief Mike Dunn

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