With the Fourth of July approaching, skylines and neighborhoods will be dotted with American flags. This widely known symbol of patriotism and pride can sometimes lead to legal issues. Take, for example, the 40×80-foot American flag flying above the parking lot of Gander RV (formerly Camping World) in Statesville, North Carolina. CEO Marcus Lemonis publicly refused to take the flag down, despite increasing fines for its alleged violation of a city ordinance limiting the size of flown flags.
Statesville passed the relevant ordinance in an effort to prevent the growing practice of displaying Confederate flags. Lemonis, and others, objected that the ordinance applies to flags of any kind, even American flags. In response, Gander RV raised its current, 3,200 square-foot American flag. The City of Statesville filed a lawsuit against Gander RV in an effort to enforce the ordinance, seeking the court to enjoin the business from continuing its practice.
After growing negative publicity, the city held a public hearing to determine if the ordinance should be amended to increase the permissible size. Despite the city’s Planning Board’s recommendation to amend, the City Council voted against the measure. As a result, Gander RV remains in violation of the ordinance and continues to be fined $50 per day for the violation.
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