Entrepreneur says he'd rather go to jail than remove large flag at North Carolina store

A Chicago entrepreneur said fines and possible jail time won't deter him from displaying an American flag, deemed too large by local government, outside his North Carolina RV store.

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Marcus Lemonis is CEO of Camping World Holdings Inc. and a co-owner of Sweet Pete's, which was featured on the CNBC reality show "The Profit," The Jacksonville Business Journal reported. A 40-foot-by-80-foot American flag is currently displayed outside Gander RV in Statesville, North Carolina, which Lemonis owns.

A local ordinance dictates that flags be no bigger than 25 by 40 feet. As a result, Lemonis is being fined $50 per day until he reduces the size of the flag.

Local officials told Lemonis they were concerned by the flag's proximity to I-70, he said in a recent interview with Fox News.

"They made the claim it could cause an accident on the freeway because it was too distracting. It was too beautiful," Lemonis said.

In May, the city filed a lawsuit against Gander RV, ordering the company to remove the flag and pay $11,000 in fines. Local officials initially gave Camping World a verbal warning about the size of the flag in September 2018, according to the complaint.

Lemonis said he'd pay the fines but wouldn't remove the flag, adding that he'd rather go to jail.

"When veterans show up at the stores for the flag raisings, and when they come on Saturdays and do their veteran rides, and they weep at the bottom of the flagpole, that's the conviction that I need to say it's just not going to come down. I would rather go to jail," Lemonis said.

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