About that plane over S&PAugust 9, 2011: 1:36 PM ET
Who sent an aerial message to Wall Street?
Earlier today, a plane flew over S&P headquarters trailing a banner that read:
Thanks for the downgrade, you should all be fired.
Fortune has learned that the person who paid to fly the banner is a Midwestern broker, who woke up last night with the need to vent at those who she believes are leading the nation into an economic morass.
"I originally wanted to fly it over Washington, D.C., but learned that you can't do that," says the broker, who asked to remain anonymous for job security reasons. "So I chose Wall Street instead, but didn't specifically intend it to fly over S&P. I'm just a mother from St. Louis who feels the only reason we got downgraded was people in politics."
The pilot was Matthew Applegate, of a New Jersey-based company called Aerial Sign North. He did not pick up the phone. I'm told that such a flight would run between $1,200 and $1,500.
Update: Matthew Applegate has told a NY Post reporter that he didn't fly the plane. The original information did not come from the woman who paid for the flight, but from someone else she had first tried to hire.
Update II: The broker has now agreed to do a TV interview with an NBC affiliate in St. Louis, so I guess it's safe to identify her as Lucy Nobbe, a vice president with Wedbush Morgan Securities.