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Dispute over large American flag prompts lawsuit, fines: ‘It’s not coming down’

Posted at 12:22 PM, May 22, 2019

STATESVILLE, N.C. – A long-simmering dispute over a large U.S. flag flying outside an RV store has prompted a lawsuit.

The city of Statesville, North Carolina, wants the flag removed or replaced with a smaller one because it violates a city ordinance. Camping World said the city filed an injunction to fine the company $50 a day dating back to Oct. 15, 2018, according to WSOC. That comes to about $11,000.

The company flies the 40-by-80-foot flag outside its Gander RV location to pay tribute to military veterans. The two sides worked out a compromise last year by creating an exemption for a flag that’s larger than the city ordinance permits, but it wasn’t as large as Camping World wanted. The city says a flag within 100 feet of a highway can’t be larger than 25 by 40 feet.

The company has continued to fly its large flag, which has been a source of contention between the city and the company since 2015.

“I don’t care if it goes to $500 a day. It’s not coming down,” Marcus Lemonis, CEO and chairman of Camping World and Gander RV, told WSOC.

Lemonis said the company flies large flags at dozens of its stores across the country.

“My family has been car dealers, had been car dealers since the 1960s, and our key trademark was always flying our flag in our dealership in South Florida,” he said. “My family is largely immigrants of the country.”

A city spokesperson said Statesville only started fining the company after repeatedly asking it to replace the flag with a smaller one.

An online petition supporting the company has collected more than 133,000 signatures as of Wednesday morning.