Tuesday, September 27, 2022


Camping World flag issue still unresolved

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

Camping World/Gander RV CEO Marcus Lemonis says by his reckoning, at the end of August his company owed $20,000 in fines over a flag-flying issue in North Carolina.

The fines are just a piece of the seemingly intractable situation between Lemonis and a majority of city council members in Statesville, a city of 25,000 near metropolitan Charlotte.

Statesville’s city ordinance doesn’t condemn flying the national emblem, but does put a limit on how large a flag can be flown: 25 feet by 40 feet. The Gander RV flag dwarfs the ordinance allowance, scaling in at 40 by 80. When city officials contacted Gander to urge them to comply with the size ordinance, Lemonis stuck his feet in the ground, declaring that he would sooner go to jail than to reduce the flag size.

The city has imposed a $50-per-day fine for each day the ordinance is violated. In an interview near the end of August, Lemonis opined the fines were up to $20,000. But he told a reporter from WBTV, “Under no circumstance is that flag coming down. None. Zero. Zilch.” He did concede that eventually the fines would have to be paid.

To emphasize the company’s give-no-ground stance, during a televised college football game between Miami and Florida, aired locally, Camping World ran a commercial showing veterans employed by the company raising a giant American Flag, much like the one in Statesville.

Statesville city hall. Photo: Travis K. Witt on wikimedia commons.

Lemonis said the timing and location was “not accidental.” He called it “An appeal to city council members in Statesville and across the country.” In June, Statesville’s council members voted 5 to 3 not to amend the city ordinance regarding flags, effectively keeping a lid on the size limitation.

If nothing else, the issue has stirred up plenty of controversy. Veterans have regularly appeared at city council meetings, using public comment periods to tell council members they needed to back down and allow the larger flag to support patriotism. At the same time, others who say they are veterans have written letters to media outlets, saying the size of a flag is not the measure of patriotism, but observing law and order is.

So the standoff continues. And each month means Lemonis’ tab with city hall increases by at least another $1,400.


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Dennis Wenger
3 years ago

Which came first? The Ordinance or the flag? If it was the Ordinance, Lemonis is getting his own fantastic PR for cheap, cut-rate, much like he has driven his stock price.

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
3 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Wenger

Dennis Wenger, Lemonis knew the ordinance when he put up the flag. He intentionally broke the law in doing so. If we all decided we didn’t like a particular law, then we should work to have it changed, not just say “screw your law, I’m going to do what I want.” In my mind, knowing a lot about Lemonis’ character, the flag is not about patriotism, but about promoting his business. So he keeps tossing away money in fines. He says he will not in any way reduce the size of the flag, and he’s willing to go to jail before he does that. We will hold him to that promise, which we believe he has absolutely no way of honoring. Time will tell.

3 years ago

Just the name Camping World/Marcus seems to trigger some who respond with unsubstantiated liable talking points. Sadly, others just hate the American flag and what it stands for. Perhaps for the purpose of evaluating this issue, we can set hatred aside and judge with neutrality.
I presume the city ordinance was created to keep businesses from displaying oversized advertisement signs or flags. This seems to be logical. But this is about the American flag and those business owners who love America. In MHO, some less than patriotic citizens see the flag as a hate symbol and are triggered by the sight of it. Well, too bad. If you hate the flag and what it stands for, do not patronize the business. Just like many of these same protesters have the right to boycott Chick-fil-A and others. Otherwise let CW express their freedom of expression instead of using government to stifle what you don’t like.

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
3 years ago
Reply to  George

If only Marcus Lemonis were doing this for patriotic reasons, not just using the flag to publicize his slowing sinking businesses. If he were to post a smaller flag, does that mean he is less patriotic? Saying it another way, is one’s patriotism measured by the size of the flag they fly? Personally, I am patriotic and I don’t even fly a flag.

I. Guy
3 years ago
Reply to  George

Put. The kool-aid. Down.

Phil Atterbery
3 years ago

The five council members probably also support covenant communities which are, IMHO, unconstitutional. Let the ballot box decide their fate.

Billy Bob Thorton
3 years ago

Marcus, don’t give up until you win. The city council (5 of em) are just a bunch of unpatriotic Americans. Want proff, I bet if he hires some private investigators to dig dirt on them, (you know, like what the boys in D.C. were doing back in 2015, 16, 17, and will soon have their pervebial hats handed to them), he will find that they might just come around to the patriotic position of Mr. Lamonis.

Hey, they wanted thks fight, well they are about to find out who they picked it with.

2 years ago

Lemonis is a xxxxx. It would be easier to dig up dirt on him, guaranteed!! When he applied for his permit, he knew the ordinance for the size of the flag. He chose to ignore it in his own arrogant way to gain attention and publicity. I received an Email from Camping World including a petition to sign to support Lemonis on the subject. I too thought it was ridiculous that the city would not let him fly his flag, until I did the research on the matter. It doesn’t mean that he’s more patriot because he wants to fly a larger flag, he just has the money to “fight city hall” for publicity. Do your own research on him and find out for yourself what a xxxxx HE is!! [Bleeped by Diane at RVtravel.com, No name-calling, please.]

3 years ago

See, if you steal from enough people, you can afford to do anything, including thumb your nose at the community in which you business operates!!

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