The statue is a relic of the building's previous owners, Great Western Savings, which unveiled the statue of Wayne — who made TV commercials for the institution before his death in 1979 — in 1984. Great Western was absorbed into Washington Mutual, which sold the building to Flynt in 1994 but retained ownership of the statue.
Flynt told the Times that he wouldn't miss Wayne and his horse if they headed south, saying the entryway to the Flynt building might get "a 50-foot statue celebrating the male anatomy," according to the Times.
The Flynt building engineer said that the sculpture could be moved relatively easily. The bronze base is hollow and can be accessed through an underground passageway, and the statue can be separated from the base there.
If the statue is removed, no replacement artwork would be mandated, Beverly Hills city officials said.
"The city's Fine Arts Commission was made aware" of Newport Beach's interest "and declined to make an offer for the statue," Cheryl Friedling, deputy city manager, said.
Washington Mutual officials have not made any decision about the statue.
"We have been contacted by the city of Newport Beach and the John Wayne Foundation," bank spokesman Gary Kisner said. "Nothing has been decided."