A North Carolina city is suing an RV retailer over its 'gigantic' 3,200-square-foot American flag, and the owner says he'd rather go to jail than take it down

Facebook/Camping WorldAn RV dealership in North Carolina is refusing to take down its ‘gigantic,’ 3,200-square-foot flag.
  • The city of Statesville, North Carolina, is suing an RV retailer over its 3,200-square-foot flag.
  • The owner of the company says he’d rather be held in contempt of court and sent to jail than take the flag down.
  • Statesville officials say they approved an application for Gander RV to fly a 1,000-square-foot flag, but the one the retailer erected was more than three times that size.
  • Camping World CEO Marcus Limonis says he doesn’t see why a flag honouring the United States and its veterans should be removed, so long as it doesn’t endanger anyone.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

A North Carolina city is suing an RV retailer over its “gigantic” American flag that stretches to 3,200 square feet – and the company’s owner says he’d rather be held in contempt of court and get arrested than take the flag down.

Gander RV has been flying the flag outside its Statesville location for more than six months, and has racked up a fine of $US50 per day ever since, city officials said in a statement.

A complaint filed with a local court says the dispute began when Statesville approved Gander RV’s application to display a 1,000-square-foot flag. But the version the retailer actually erected was more than three times that size.

“Please know that it is our job to protect our citizens and the businesses that call the City of Statesville home. We take our laws and ordinances very seriously,” the city said on its Facebook page. “Our doors are open to any business looking to prosper and grow in our community. We only ask that the proper channels are followed. That is the first and necessary step to any potential change in code.”

Read more: 21 versions of the US flag you’ve probably never seen

‘We’re not taking the flag down’

But Marcus Limonis, the chairman and CEO of Gander RV’s parent company, Camping World, told Fox Business’ “Bulls and Bears” he didn’t understand why a flag honouring the United States and its veterans should be removed – so long as it doesn’t endanger anyone or violate federal air traffic regulations.

“We’re not going to throw the rules out the window, but for me, rules are meant to really enforce people to not hurt people or to break real laws. In this particular case, we’re going to take this as far as we have to,” Limonis said. “It’s been something that’s been part of my DNA since I was a kid. … It’s not coming down under any circumstance.

Limonis said the retailer has identical flags at its 180 locations across the country, and they have never run afoul of city ordinances before.

He added that Statesville had even approved a 130-foot flag pole.

“It’s odd to me that you would approve a 130-foot flag pole and then ask us to fly a postage stamp on it,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense to us. I don’t normally advocate for violating ordinances and things of that nature, but we have 14,000 employees and several million customers, and I have a fiduciary responsibility to their edict as well.”

Limonis said his and his company have been clear with the city: the flag is not coming down. If that means he’s held in contempt of court for violating a judge’s order, so be it.

“I would never want to break the law or be in contempt of any court of any kind, but in this particular situation, I understand that if I don’t comply with that order I could and would be arrested and put in jail until the flag came down,” Limonis said.

So far, public support appears to be on Limonis’ side. A change.org petition to allow the retailer to fly its beloved flag has garnered more than 200,000 signatures so far.

“Everybody’s saying, ‘We’re not taking this flag down. Marcus, if you go to jail, we’ll visit you, but we’re not taking the flag down,'” Limonis said.

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