Trump fined over huge flag

Palm Beach will fine him $1,250 a day. Trump says bring it on.

Published January 19, 2007

WEST PALM BEACH - Officials in the ritzy coastal town of Palm Beach voted Thursday 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 say the real estate mogul is violating zoning guidelines by using a flagpole taller than 42 feet, by not obtaining a building permit and by not getting permission from the landmarks board.

Trump has refused to take down the flag. He also has 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. "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 pole at the 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.

Trump said Thursday he will not pay any fines and will keep the flag flying.

"It's all up in the court," he said. "It'll be a long time, unfortunately."