City says American flag is too big; business owner won't take it down

The fight over the size of the American flag flying in Statesville is becoming too big for some city workers to handle. 

The flag is a symbol of freedom but at this local business, it's become a point of contention.

Statesville city councilman John Stafford has received calls from across the country about the 3,200 square foot flag flying over Gander RV off I-77. The flag violates the city's ordinance but owner Marcus Lemonis refuses to take it down even though he's being fined $50 per day. 

"I asked my other council members if they can find a reason that either violates another person's rights or is a safety concern then let's address that otherwise let's fluff the pillow on this thing and put it to bed,” Lemonis said. 

LINKS: 

The issue has grown as big as the flag causing it. The city is becoming paralyzed. City hall is being inundated with calls and emails from people arguing that the flag should fly no matter the size.  

"They're getting a lot of negative or hateful calls and that's just not necessary. I'm not telling people not to call in fact, I urge you to burn the lines up but be civil and respectful to those folks because they certainly don't deserve any disrespect."

Some city employees have gotten death threats including councilman William Morgan who says police are investigating a threatening call and text against his family.

"Stop. That's not the way we need to handle this. That's not what this country was founded on,” Morgan said.

Lemonis has created online petitions telling FOX 46 he feels it's a good way for elected officials to understand how people feel. 

"The property that's there belongs to us, we pay taxes, we've been employing people in the town for over 15 years and the size of the flag to me isn't hurting anybody,” he said.

A city spokesperson says the issue has gone to court and in the next two months a judge could decide whether this flag stays or goes.