In the land of the free one CEO is being forced to pay fines for flying the flag of the United States of America.
Marcus Lemonis is the CEO of Camping World and is currently locked in a legal battle over the massive American flag that flies above his Gander RV business that sits along interstate 77 in Statesville, NC.
Statesville officials are trying to force Lemonis into taking down the 40-by-80 foot flag, citing city ordinance that dictates a flag within 100 feet of the highway can’t exceed a size of 25-by-40 feet.
But Lemonis has been adamant that “there is no way that flag is coming down.”
In October Lemonis attempted to amend the ordinance, but to no avail. Without that victory the city started imposing a fine of $50 per day that Lemonis was in violation. Today the sum of that fine hovers around the $11,000 mark.
However Lemonis, a self made millionaire, isn’t concerned about that either.
“I don’t care if it goes to $500 a day. It’s not coming down,” he shared with WSOC.
As a Lebanese-born American entrepreneur, Lemonis says the large flag carries personal significance to him.
“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,” Lemonis said. “My family is largely immigrants of the country.”
In a renewed effort to keep his flag, Lemonis has now started a petition on change.org which has amasses over 87,000 signatures.
“Many cities like Statesville have requested that Camping World and Gander Outdoors take down their American Flags. WE WON’T DO IT! Stand with us,” the petition states.
“This is about more than just the flag. This is about our Veterans, Military, and the men and women that have sacrificed for this great country. They are the reason we fly the flag and they are the reason we will NOT take it down!” the message continues.
Even if the petition doesn’t succeed, Lemonis hopes the exposure will help his case and put pressure on the city.
“I think it would be a good way for elected leaders to see how people actually feel,” Lemonis told WJZY-TV.
At the end of the day Lemonis ultimately feels, “the property that’s there belongs to us, we pay taxes and the size of the flag isn’t hurting anybody.”