PALM BEACH, Florida – Officials in the ritzy coastal town of Palm Beach have voted to fine Donald Trump $1,250 a day for flying a large American flag atop an 80-foot flagpole at his lavish club in violation of town codes.
Code enforcement officials have accused the 60-year-old real-estate mogul of violating zoning guidelines with a flagpole taller than 42 feet, for not obtaining a building permit, and for not getting permission from the landmarks board.
Trump has refused to take down the flag. He has also filed a $25 million lawsuit against the town arguing, in part, that officials are selectively enforcing ordinances and that flying the American flag at his Mar-A-Lago club is a constitutionally protected expression of free speech.
"The town council of Palm Beach should be ashamed of itself," Trump said Thursday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "They're fining me for putting up the American flag. This is probably a first in United States history."
Trump's club hoisted the 15-by-25 foot flag atop the 80-foot pole at the sprawling waterfront site on Oct 3. The town had given him until Nov. 27 to remove the flag or apply for approvals.
"I think Mr. Trump, the property owner, picked this fight. I think he's been provocative," said Martin Fried, a member of the town's Code Enforcement Board.
Officials voted Thursday to fine Trump.
Trump said he would not pay any fines and would keep the flag flying.
"It's all up in the court," he said. "It'll be a long time, unfortunately."