Camping World flag flap finished

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By Russ and Tiña De Maris

Fox46 image

Statesville, North Carolina, city officials and Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis have come to terms. Statesville gets the money, Lemonis keeps his flag.

After a closed-door session prior to last Monday’s city council meeting, an agreement was completed that ends a long fight over an oversized U.S. flag that Lemonis had flown over the Gander store in the North Carolina city. Months back, Gander raised a 40′ by 80′ American flag, in violation of Statesville’s ordinances, which most recently limited flags to a maximum of 25′ by 40′. Code enforcers approached Gander about the violation, and the company refused to take the flag down. With fanfare, Lemonis said he’d rather go to jail than to come into compliance.

The majority of city counselors were just as entrenched. Last June they voted down a proposed ordinance that would have allowed larger flags. When they did, the council came under fire. In a now-removed media release, Statesville’s mayor wrote, “People from all over the country have jumped on this issue and called us names I can’t repeat. When our community’s efforts to conduct business in an orderly, lawful manner begins to hurt our businesses, then it’s time to put a stop to it.”

Perhaps the settlement will finally put a stop to it. Lemonis’ company will pay fines for the unlawful flag flying to the tune of $14,350, in addition to $2,000 in court costs. For its part, the city will rewrite its flag ordinance, allowing Gander’s 3,200 square footer, by specifically allowing the area where Gander’s store is located to have the larger flag.

In a Tweet, Lemonis said the city was a great place, and even offered to donate another huge flag to be flown over downtown Statesville. Just how that idea will fly with the city council is yet to be seen.

So, asks RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury, was this about patriotism or publicity? Read his thoughts.

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42 Comments
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Darrel
11 months ago

Our nations flag is NOT “illegal”. The bias is just never ending.

“wins his illegal flag battle”

Darrel
11 months ago

Good. I don’t like the man, but enough with flag bashing.

Barz Erlich
11 months ago

There is a huge flag flying at the Cliffs Hotel here in Pismo Beach, CA.
The hotel is right off the 101 and always gives me a sense of pride and patriotism every time I drive by. If they were flying a “Cliffs Resort Flag” or something similar, I would object. I think the people living in Statesville should be the ones who determine if the flag stays or goes and not some subjective politician(s). I am sure that the public would overwhelmingly support the large flag, those who died defending her and all that it represents. You might not be a fan of Lemonis, and I’m not, but I would certainly appreciate seeing Old Glory waving in the blue sky if I lived in Statesville.

Alvin
11 months ago

As a Canadian looking in on this, I thought there were bigger fish to fry. I do know one thing, you’d have to spend a lot of money running down a flag flying from a business as big as that on the Gander operation. In fact to find any flag flying on a Canadian business is not going to be common. We’re just not as flag waving as our American friends. Bravo to you all, and Bravo to Lemonis for fighting this and winning. Do I shop at Camping world, do I patronize any Democrat or Liberal anything? – not on your life.

Ival Secrest
11 months ago

Interesting in that I was in Statesville last week visiting a relative. I had arranged to have Gander RV diagnose a couple problems with my entertainment system. It was only upon arrival did I know that they were really Camping World. I must say that the Service Writer (C.J.) and the technician (Dave) were very professional and the technician knew what he was doing. I did not notice or see the flag in question.

John Koenig
11 months ago

I’ll have to keep Statesville, NC in mind as a place to AVOID with my RV if it requires legal action to show one’s patriotism. I’m sure I can find other, less onerous places, to visit and spend my travel dollars in.

George
11 months ago

End of the day, it was all about the money for the city. They took it as a part of the deal. On the other hand, the assumptions of Lemonis’ intent for flying the flag, are just that, assumptions. Perhaps a little research would help tone down the rhetoric.

J Dee
11 months ago

Marcus Lemonis is a Trump hating liberal. Don’t let him fool you, remember his comment during the last Presidential campaign, that Trump supporters are NOT welcome at his stores.

George
11 months ago
Reply to  J Dee

Not true, do a little research.

Elaine Ashton
11 months ago

WHO CARES about the size of the flag — aren’t there more important issues to talk about than the size of the flag? Get over it!

Tpm Smithbrother
11 months ago

It is disgusting that a town or any local government can legally limit the size of the National flag that they are located within.

Prospector 1950
11 months ago

The Lemonis’ company will pay fines for the unlawful flag flying to the tune of $14,350, in addition to $2,000 in court costs. For its part, the city will rewrite its flag ordinance, allowing Gander’s 3,200 square footer, by specifically allowing the area where Gander’s store is located to have the larger flag. – See there the key points are that…… (1) Gander will still have to pay the $14,350.00 fine, plus the $2,000.00 Court Costs anyway, – and – (2) The only place a flag above what the city allows in size will be only upon the very small space upon Ganders properly, as nobody else will ever be able to display or fly such a large size flag themselves without going through the same hassles as Gander has had to go through. – Yes, Folks, Once again, it’s all about the huge amount of money that the city can force out of the citizen, and not about the flag, and the patriotism of the flag and/or its owner. The city should have to eat those fines, and the re-zoning for the larger flags should be city wide and not just upon that one small spot. Very few if any people would ever fly such a huge flag anyway, but its more just the idea that they could do so by law if they so chose to do so, and wanted to do it. So, in essence overall, the city still won.

Admin
Chuck Woodbury (@chuck)
11 months ago

Could McDonalds then fly a big ol’ McDonalds flag, and next door Taco Bell do the same? Just asking.

peterb
11 months ago

How dare you use the American Flag as your soap box

Darrel
11 months ago
Reply to  peterb

How dare the city council tell free citizens what flag they may or may not fly.

Dale e Rose
11 months ago

I do believe that Lemonis is very patriotic to our country. His family came to the USA when he was a child and they all worked very hard to become citizens. They had very little money, and he started working when he was young, and is a self made millionaire.

Pamela Hill
11 months ago
Reply to  Dale e Rose

Maybe he can have an American flag bedspread in his prison cell when he’s convicted of insider trading and lying to investors. In today’s political climate maybe being a con man is a requirement.

Greg Gimlick
11 months ago

This had nothing to do with patriotism, I doubt Lemonis even knew about it until the lawsuit. This was a PR move for him and nothing more. I like the big flag, but let’s not mistake his motive.

Elaine Ashton
11 months ago
Reply to  Greg Gimlick

If your theory is correct — then the city played right into Lemonis’ game … who cares what his real motive is — enjoy the flag or dislike it and don’t look there are far more important things to worry about … UNBELIEVABLE that we are even discussing this.

Troy
11 months ago

I originally thought that this story was just a publicity stunt, and it still may be, but I recently spent a month in Cedar Rapids, IA and found another branch to Lemonis and his huge flags. There is a Gander Outdoors store there that is one of the stores that is closing down. It has one of those huge flags and it was torn and tattered. I am a veteran, and knowing about this story in NC, so I called the local VFW to see what needed to be done and if they could handle it since I was there for a school. The VFW said they could take care of the disposal, but they couldn’t do anything with the store bringing it to them. I went into the store and spoke with someone about getting the flag taken down, but since they were busy doing all their going out of business stuff I didn’t expect it to come down until they were closed. To my surprise within a few days that huge flag had been removed and replaced with another huge flag. The reason this surprised me was they would have had to hire someone with a huge cherry picker to go up and switch out the flags, and they did it even though they were going out of business.

Elaine Ashton
11 months ago
Reply to  Troy

RIGHT ON … just because you think it doesn’t mean it’s true — and this man’s story proves it.

Billy Bob Thorton
11 months ago
Reply to  Troy

Shows respect. Marcus I’m sure is a proud American. Good for him, he now can fly the stars and stripes in Stateville, NC because he had the code changed.

Ray
11 months ago

I wonder if Lemon Lemonis thinks he’s improved his image by the wrapping oneself in the flag tactic. Maybe. But I wager it’s fewer than he thinks. One of his employees complained to me that he could pay his employees a little more rather than the $10,000 dollars a day fine he was incurring at the time. Just saying ,,,,,.

Admin
Chuck Woodbury (@chuck)
11 months ago
Reply to  Ray

Ray, the fine was $50 a day, not $10,000.

Jeff
11 months ago

The fact that marcus lemonis won the flag issue, does NOT mean I am going to buy anything from Camping World.

Everyone should simply stay away from Camping World and DON’T enrich marcus lemonis’ wallet with one more penny!

Bob Godfrey
11 months ago

While I am as patriotic as anyone (VietNam combat veteran) I also know that marketing folks use the American flag in their places of business because studies have shown that it will increase sales. I seriously doubt that Marcus Lemonis flies such a huge flag out of patriotism. Have you ever noticed that the biggest flags in almost any town are flown over car dealerships?

Elaine Ashton
11 months ago
Reply to  Bob Godfrey

Using various tactics to entice buyers isn’t just limited to Camping World … ever notice stores and people who use their “Christianity” to proclaim their honesty? I make every effort to NOT do business with people who try to subtly CLAIM they are better than “those other people” for any reason whatsoever.

Billy Bob Thorton
11 months ago
Reply to  Bob Godfrey

Yes, i have noticed that. Have you ever noticed that Ford, Chevy, Dodge proudly say made in America. Talk to a Chevy worker and ask him where the rice burners have to park in the employee parkjng lot.

Everbody has an opinion on what Mr. Lemonis was thinking. Until you sit down with the gentleman and ask him, your opinion is pure conjecture. Wouldn’t you say!

Ed & Robin D.
11 months ago

I have left two different comments on this subject and both of them were removed (CENSORED). I am a paid subscriber to this newsletter but will not renew if this is the way you do things. I saw nothing wrong with my comments. I deserve an explanation.
Ed

Admin
Chuck Woodbury (@chuck)
11 months ago
Reply to  Ed & Robin D.

Ed and/or Robin. I explained why this happened in response to your other email. Keep in mind our staff is on the west coast and sometimes we do not get up at the crack of dawn on weekends (even though we often work on those days to keep up with correspondence). So any comments that are left by readers in, say, the Eastern time zone, for moderation may sit there at times waiting for one of our early-riser staff members to get up to approve them. I got up at 6 this morning to do just that, even though I really would have liked to have stayed in bed a little longer. We appreciate your financial support. Thank you.

Billy Bob Thorton
11 months ago
Reply to  Ed & Robin D.

Gee, I got the boots too. Maybe I’m mistaken, but jury is out.

jim
11 months ago

But it does give you pride to see how magnificent a flag of this size being flown to honor those who gave the ultimate price and to say “Thank you Veterans”.