Camping World flag issue still unresolved

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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

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.

George

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.

Phil Atterbery

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

Billy Bob Thorton

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.

Mike

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!!