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Trump sues town in American flag flap

By The Associated Press
12.26.06

Editor’s note: On Jan. 18, 2007, Palm Beach officials voted to fine Donald Trump $1,250 a day for flying the large American flag at his club. Trump said he wouldn’t pay any fines and would keep the flag flying.

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump is suing this oceanside town for $10 million after being cited for flying an oversized American flag over his Mar-a-Lago Club.

Attorneys for the club filed a complaint on Dec. 21, saying that flying the flag is a constitutionally protected expression of free speech — and that the large flag is a proper match for the size of the real-estate mogul's patriotism.

"A smaller flag and pole on Mar-A-Lago's property would be lost given its massive ++size, look silly instead of make a statement, and most importantly would fail to appropriately express the magnitude of Donald J. Trump's and the Club's members' patriotism," the lawsuit says.

Town officials said Trump violated zoning codes when the lavish club hoisted a 15-by-25-foot flag atop an 80-foot pole on Oct. 3. The citation was for having a flagpole taller than 42 feet, for not obtaining a building permit and for not getting permission from the landmarks board.

A phone call to the mayor and town council's office was not returned.

In the lawsuit, Trump's attorneys accuse the town of selectively enforcing its ordinances. Other locations in the town display flags that violate statutes, the lawsuit alleges.

All damages awarded to the club would be donated to veterans of the war in Iraq, the lawsuit said.

Trump had until Nov. 27 to apply for approvals or else he faced a Dec. 21 hearing that could have resulted in fines of $250 per day. It was unclear on Dec. 23 whether that meeting took place.

"The day you need a permit to put up the American flag, that will be a sad day for this country," Trump said in October.


Previous
Donald Trump raises large U.S. flag — and Fla. town's ire
'You don't need a permit to put up the American flag,' real estate mogul says after Palm Beach officials cite him for zoning-code violation. 11.02.06

Related

Bill to make flying U.S. flag always legal loses steam

Tennessee attorney general says measure would interfere with neighborhood-association covenants forbidding flag displays. 05.11.05

President signs bill freeing homeowners to fly U.S. flag
New law prohibits condo, homeowners groups from preventing residents from displaying Stars and Stripes on their property. 07.25.06

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