In May 2019, several social media reports and posts claimed that the city of Statesville, NC, had instituted legal action against a retailer for camping and outdoor items to prevent them from flying the US flag outside of their local business.
On May 18, Camping World posted the following message on Facebook:
The city of Statesville, North Carolina, has filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction stating that Gander RV in Statesville, NC, is taking down the American flag got to. They impose a penalty of 50 USD / day retroactively to 15.10.18. Many cities like Statesville have asked that Camping World and Gander Outdoors turn off their American flags. WE WILL NOT DO IT! Stand up to us.
This is about more than just the flag. This is about our veterans, the military and the men and women who sacrificed for this great country. They are the reason why we raise the flag and they are the reason why we will NOT drop them!
The post was linked to a Change.org petition that asked readers to sign up and express their support for the company's attitude toward the flag. By 21
The petition was spurred on Twitter by Marcus Lemonis, the controversial CEO of Camping World, who wrote : "I will not budge I will not compromise … I will not tear down the flag , I will not compromise, I will be grateful for who I am and what I have and I realize why. # usa I will not make the flag tear down @cityofsvl or another city pic.twitter.com/i8bTBBxxr4
– Marcus Lemonis (@marcuslemonis) May 18, 2019
In May 2019 requested The city of Statesville actually issued a court order that would force Campground World and its affiliates to order to remove or replace an American flag from their location in Moreland Drive in Statesville and impose fines totaling $ 50 per day – starting until October 2018 – until Camping World rectified the situation.
However, the descriptions of the controversy published by Camping World on Facebook and Change.org were extremely incomplete and therefore likely to be outdated st misleading as they are the following highly relevant details from what is now a not mentioned four-year battle between city officials and the Illinois-based firm:
- Statesville did not sue Camping World to prevent them to erect one or all US flags, but only one whose size violated the rules of a local city ordinance. The injunction would allow the company to replace the existing flag with a smaller version with a size of up to 1,000 square feet.
- The city of Statesville had previously agreed to amend a local ordinance to expand by a factor of ten. The maximum size of a government flag allowed outside a store in the city.
- The city of Statesville had already given Camping World permission to hoist a 25 by 40 foot (1,000 square foot) American flag outside its Moreland Drive location.
As of 2014, Section 6.07 of the Statesleds Unified Development Code (UDC) established that government flags (eg, Stars and Stripes) blowing outside local businesses should not exceed 2 meters in size tall and 12 feet wide (96 square feet) and flown on a flagpole no higher than 40 feet.
In June 2015, Camping World requested a derogation (similar to an exception) from section 6.07 to allow the company to fly an American flag ng 40 feet high and 80 feet wide on a 130ft flagpole. In August 2015, the Statesville Adaptation Authority denied the request for a derogation.
Three years later, in June 2018, the Statesville City Council voted to change section 6.07 of the UDC to include American flags 25 feet high and 40 feet wide (1,000 square feet) with a flagpole no higher than 130 Foot is. Shortly thereafter, Camping World applied for and received permission to build such an American flag at Gander Outdoors on Moreland Drive.
In August 2018, however, the company instead built an area of 40 by 80 feet flag on the site. According to the city's civil lawsuit against Camping World, city officials twice warned the company that the flag violated the already expanded restrictions in section 6.07.
At the Statesville City Council meeting on October 1, 2018, members voted against a proposal to extend the restrictions once again to allow a 40 by 80 foot American flag, such as those found at Gander Outdoors blows.
Two weeks later, according to civil action, the city issued a citation to Camping World stating that the company violated Section 6.07 and was cautioned against it and that the city is entitled to take further legal action against the company and a fine from 50 US dollars per day from 15 October 2018 until the time Camping World became compliant with Section 6.07 – a fine set out in Section 1.07 of the city's UDC itself.
Between October 2018 and May 2019, Camping World was unable to remove or replace the flag. On 7 May, the city filed a civil suit at the Iredell District Court, requesting a temporary injunction ordering the company to comply with the city ordinance Furthermore, in addition to the legal costs, the fine of USD 50 per day should be applied for.
None of these four-year background stories were included in Camping World's widespread Facebook Post or Change.org petition, which merely stated that it was Statesville, bringing a lawsuit to force the company to throw off their American flag.
The company did not mention that the city had already changed the relevant regulation to allow ten times larger flags, and that the city had granted camping a worldwide permit for a flag that would have been 25 by 40 feet (1,000 square feet) in size and the court order, if arranged, would allow the company to replace the existing flag with a smaller one . For that reason, Camping World's Facebook post and the Change.org petition were pitifully misleading in a highly relevant context.
Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis told Snopes.com: "I accept the fact that our current flag size violates the city's regulation, which in his view" compared to most cities in America, including most Cities in North Carolina, was unusual.
He swore, however, that, "We will not break the flag." under all circumstances. Zero. None. Never happen. Later, he added, "You can earn the fine of $ 500 a day, $ 1,000 a day and $ 5,000 a day – I'll just pay you. That's so important to me. "
Lemonis emphasized that he and his company would respect and adhere to any restrictions on flags and flag-ship heights aimed at avoiding danger to motorists, passers-by or air traffic, but no such public safety considerations had been made in the Statesville case Service. He also stated that he believed that the existing restrictions should be relaxed specifically for the American flag and that similar size restrictions would be appropriate for other types of flags:
Size of the American flag, if we know that there is no danger to people or air traffic. "