Man Ticketed for Flying American Flags outside His Hot Dog Stand

When a patriotic American hung two flags in front of his business, he never imagined that he would receive two tickets for "improper display," but that's exactly what happened. The flag fight has now gone viral and garnered thousands of different reactions! 

McHenry County in Illinois experienced its fair share of drama this month when a restaurant owner was presented with citations for flying the American flag in front of his hot dog business, Gianelli’s.

Terry Trobiani's attempt to celebrate the Fourth of July backfired when he positioned two USA flags on wooden poles in front of his business. His actions spiraled into a full-blown legal battle. 

In a viral flag fight, a business owner explains why he refuses to take down American flags despite being ticketed for the action | Photo: Youtube/FOX 32 Chicago

In a viral flag fight, a business owner explains why he refuses to take down American flags despite being ticketed for the action | Photo: Youtube/FOX 32 Chicago

"IMPROPER DISPLAY"

Trobiani detailed his experience with the village administrator, who handed him a pamphlet outlining the sign ordinance for flags. The administrator told him that he should read the pamphlet. 

However, Trobiani received an unexpected piece of paper the following day. The village of Prairie Grove presented him with two tickets for "improper display."

MESSAGES OF SUPPORT 

A business owner who received two tickets for flying the American flag explains why he disagrees with the citations | Photo: Youtube/FOX 32 Chicago

A business owner who received two tickets for flying the American flag explains why he disagrees with the citations | Photo: Youtube/FOX 32 Chicago

Trobiani was shocked that his well-intentioned actions led to these repercussions. He swiftly taped the tickets to his restaurant's front door to alert his customers about the incident.

Trobiani received messages of support, and many people visited his business to stand with him. He said: "We had 50 people out here Saturday with trucks, horns, speakers, signs, support small business, support the American flag." 

USING THE FLAGS AS A TOOL

A business owner taped two tickets to the front door of his shop to notify customers about the citation he received for flying the American flag | Photo: Youtube/FOX 32 Chicago

A business owner taped two tickets to the front door of his shop to notify customers about the citation he received for flying the American flag | Photo: Youtube/FOX 32 Chicago

The flag fight has also been making waves online. Regardless of the public support, the village of Prairie Grove was adamant about the fines, and they had the justification to back it up.

They stated that it had nothing to do with a lack of patriotism. Prairie Grove Village President David Underwood expressed that he believed Trobiani was using the American flag "as a tool to further his business interests." 

THE FLAG'S LOCATION

The Prairie Grove Village president explains that the reason for issuing the business owner with the two tickets was because of the flag's location | Photo: Youtube/FOX 32 Chicago

The Prairie Grove Village president explains that the reason for issuing the business owner with the two tickets was because of the flag's location | Photo: Youtube/FOX 32 Chicago

He also added that the issue was never with the flags but rather their location. Trobiani's hot dog business was situated along Highway 176, and the flags were allegedly positioned very close to the road.

Underwood shared that the location of the flags posed a threat. They were in a place that could easily have led to them blowing into any oncoming traffic. 

TAKING IT TO COURT 

Two American flags hang outside of a restaurant and have caused controversy between the village council and the business owner | Photo: Youtube/FOX 32 Chicago

Two American flags hang outside of a restaurant and have caused controversy between the village council and the business owner | Photo: Youtube/FOX 32 Chicago

Consequently, Trobiani received two citations for this offense. He strongly disagreed with the punishment and has thus decided to take things further. 

While the violations totaled a fine of $200, Trobiani is willing to pay more to have his day in court. The businessman shared that he will be fighting the case with a lawyer in the Municipal Court next month. 

ANOTHER FLAG CONTROVERSY 

The business owner explains why he will be taking the village council to court regarding his tickets | Photo: Youtube/FOX 32 Chicago

The business owner explains why he will be taking the village council to court regarding his tickets | Photo: Youtube/FOX 32 Chicago

In a similar flag-related incident, the CEO of Camping World and a North Carolina city spent time and money arguing about an American flag's size. The flag in question was 40 feet by 80 feet, while the allowed sizing was 25 feet by 40 feet. 

Statesville Mayor Costi Kutteh shared the news that they reached a settlement agreement with Marcus Lemonis. Lemonis's flag, initially too large to fly outside his RV company, was deemed acceptable at the end of 2019. 

REFUSED TO REMOVE THE FLAG 

Initially, officials questioned the size of the flag and consequently sued Lemonis. However, city leaders eventually voted to rezone the area so that the flag would not break any ordinances. 

Lemonis would not relent and refused to remove the flag. He expressed that the flag size was safe under federal aviation rules. He added that he would rather go to jail than lower the flag. 

CHECK FLAG GUIDELINES 

Lemonis was required to pay a total of $16,000 for his original breaking of the flag ordinance in addition to some legal fees. However, these fees were bittersweet because he managed to keep his flag up! 

Flag ordinances have created a lot of confusion and legal upheaval. The different regulations in every state make it difficult to keep tabs on what is allowed. If people want to fly their flags without controversy, they will do well to check the guidelines first.

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