PALM BEACH, Florida – Donald Trump is suing this oceanside town for $10 million after being cited for flying an oversized U.S. flag over his Mar-a-Lago Club.
Attorneys for the club filed a complaint Thursday, 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.
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 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.
A phone message left at the mayor and town council's office was not returned Saturday.
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 costing $250 per day. It was unclear Saturday 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.