Bar forced to remove American and POW-MIA flags by management company

POW-MIA FlagI will preface this with the fact that a law passed in South Carolina several years ago that seems stop residential communities from banning American flag display. IANAL and I haven’t read that law but I’m guessing it doesn’t cover commercial property or the landlord wouldn’t have been this brazen?

From The Charleston Post & Courier:

What started as a landlord-tenant squabble has turned into a debate about patriotism after a Charleston real estate company ordered the Stars and Stripes and the black-and-white POW emblem taken down, a move Beach Co. officials said they do not plan to amend.

In a letter last month, Beach Management, a division of the Beach Co., said the flags were not authorized and that the plain green banners that had been on Market Street flag poles need to go back.

“We in no way intend to disrespect the country we love, veterans or those military personnel taken as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action,” property manager Donna Brashier wrote to Young and her husband/business partner Marty Young.

In other words, despite us disrespecting the flags our PR spin is going to be that we don’t mean any disrespect. The plain green flag, probably unbeknownst to Beach Management, was the flag of the socialist government of Libya until last year’s revolution.

The flags originally went up at an event honoring veterans last year and stayed up for a while with no problems. Then, according to the article, a neighboring tenant complained after an outdoor party at Chucktown Tavern.

More from the article:

For the next few months the flag flew unnoticed. But the situation soured after Chucktown Tavern hosted an outdoor party this year, seemingly annoying another tenant. That’s when the letter from Brashier showed up.

In addition to the flags, the note listed complaints about improper signs, mismatched deck furniture and noise issues at the bar. The Youngs were told they had 20 days to make corrections or face what was termed landlord “remedies.”

The other items sound like typical neighbor squabbles with the landlord in the middle. However, the following shows that Beach Management and The Beach Company are totally out of touch with reality – especially in an area like Charleston (and a state like South Carolina) with so many veterans and in light of the fact that no city code violations took place with the flags:

What’s even more confounding, he said, is that city leaders say the flags don’t violate any part of the city code. Planning Director Tim Keane said Wednesday that both banners are legal under the city code because they aren’t commercial in nature. He called them “just fine.”

Beach Co. President John Darby said the original green flags are what the Board of Architectural Review permit was granted on. The more “festive” green banners are designed to fit the retail shopping on Market Street, he said, and that he doesn’t see the patriotic flags going back up.

The bar owners plan to contact the Beach Company and appeal the ruling and also ask that state and city flags be flown as well.

The CEO of The Beach Company is John C.L. Darby (according to this link, Darby’s email address is  jdarby@thebeachcompany.com) and the Chairman of the Board is Charles S. Way, Jr. Donna Brashier is identified in the article as property manager for Beach Management.

You can click here to fill out their contact form or you can contact them by phone or U.S. Mail via the below information:

John Darby, CEO (jdarby@thebeachcompany.com)
The Beach Company
211 King St # 300
Charleston, SC 29401
Majestic Square‎
(843) 722-2615

If you want to lend your support to Chucktown Tavern, contact them below:
Chucktown Tavern
159 Market Street
Charleston, SC 29401
Phone: 843.637.3681
Fax: 843.637.3682
Email: info@chucktowntavern.com

Cross-Posted at You Served.

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton is an award-winning blogger who has been aggregating and blogging since 1998. He has worked as a reporter, in government, and as a communications professional in SC and DC.

Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore for 8 years. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus.

Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.

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Comments

  1. We apologize for the misunderstanding pertaining to the display of flags at our property in Charleston, SC. Presently we only have approval from the City of Charleston for green and red banners at this location.
    Since recent events we have not received documentation from the City of Charleston of any sort that would give us the proper authority to make changes to the existing banners at this location; however with your encouragement, we are expediting a formal application to the Charleston’s Board of Architectural Review to allow other flags to be displayed.

    Furthermore, it has been brought to our attention that a South Carolina Law was passed in 2002, South Carolina Act No. 344, Section 27-1-60, to allow the American flag to fly regardless of existing zoning laws. This being the case, an American flag will be raised and flown on each flag pole next week.

    Finally, and most importantly, we have the utmost respect and honor for our country and its veterans or those military personnel taken as prisoners of war (POW’s) or listed as missing in action (MIA’s). We are proud Americans who salute our Armed Forces heroes.

    God Bless America,
    Your Friends at The Beach Company
    http://www.thebeachcompany.com

  2. The Beach Company has been unfairly criticized in this flag controversy. I think ALL the facts should be reported before drawing any conclusions. The flag poles, although located in front of the Chuck Town Tavern are not part of the restaurant. They are actually part of the common area of Majestic Square where the restaurant is located. According to The Beach Company, they went before the Architectural Review Board in 2000 and filed an application to install four flag poles and banners at Majestic Square. The application was approved but specifically stated that the flags had to be “banner-type with non-type commercial messages (i.e. no message at all), per plans, elevations and specs submitted.” The plans showed red and green banners. Government over-regulation at its finest!

    When Chuck Town Tavern decided to remove the banners to fly the American and POW/MIA flags, they did so without asking permission from The Beach Company, which honestly, they should have done. The Beach Company, fearing the all-powerful City of Charleston BAR, asked Chuck Town Tavern to remove the flags, siting the provisions of the original permit approval.

    The Beach Company has been building, developing and creating jobs in the Lowcountry for 65 years. Why would they intentionally and with malice incite Veterans, Patriots and Citizens by asking the flags to be removed for no legitimate reason. They were simply obeying the law as it was presented to them by the BAR.

    In fact, I think the City of Charleston should be held accountable for some of this controversy. Channel 4 News went to the City to ask about flag-flying ordinances and they pretty much threw The Beach Company under the bus stating that they had no problem with the flags – it wasn’t illegal to fly them. If that’s the case – why bother with the banner permit process to begin with? Guess the City doesn’t want to miss out on an opportunity to collect a fee!

    It’s also my understanding that John Darby, President and CEO of The Beach Company met with Mayor Riley and City officials and suggested that a more permanent and prominent location, such as a “public land” be dedicated to our Veterans, POWs and MIAs. Some people have agreed with this citing that a bar isn’t necessarily the “ideal” location for a tribute to our Armed Forces. Others, like myself, agree that the City of Charleston should honor our Vets with a public memorial that everyone can observe in a respectful way. It should be a place like Patriot’s Point in Mount Pleasant, that not only honors, but educates.

    I know you Bloggers and Tweeters out there would like to take credit for strong-arming The Beach Company to reverse its decision, but that, quite frankly, isn’t so. This was a simple misunderstanding that was taken personally because of omitted facts and media dramatization.

    This is my informed opinion and I sincerely hope that everyone involved receives the respect they deserve – Veterans, POWs, MIAs and The Beach Company – for service to our country and our community!

  3. We are pleased that our letter to the editor was published in today’s paper!

    Dear Editor:
    Over the past week, we at The Beach Company have been pulled into an interesting debate about patriotism and civic engagement. We have also witnessed the incredible power of social media – some good, some bad.

    I would like to initially clarify what The Beach Company has always stood for. We consider our role as responsible, responsive corporate citizens to be of utmost importance. Our employees number over 260, and our investments literally cover the Lowcountry. We work here, live here, and have invested generations of our energy into this place we call home.

    We are proud Americans. I am a second generation Citadel graduate, and many of our friends have and continue to serve bravely in the military. Some came home; others never did. We feel their loss to this day.
    When last week’s news broke that we had requested the removal of two flags – one American and one POW/MIA – from poles on Market Street, we were unfortunately, immediately painted as unpatriotic. This could not be further from the truth.

    The fact is that we were simply working with a tenant through what we perceived to be a private matter pertaining to the adherence to city regulations.

    Let me be clear: The Beach Company was in no way expressing disrespect or disregard for the men and women who have served – and who currently serve in our armed forces. We were not objecting to the flag for any political or aesthetic reasons. We were simply attempting to comply with city requirements.

    Since then, we have received many very angry emails and calls, indicating how passionately many people feel about these flags, and their right to display them. We have been stunned by the tone, and by the speed with which misinformation spread nationwide.

    As of Monday, both flags are flying on Market Street. We have concluded that the positive result of this debate would be for the City to find an appropriate, permanent, highly public place for this honorable reminder to wave. But we leave that to others to work out. Until they do, the flags remain at Majestic Square.

    Our company has been here for more than 65 years, and we believe our legacy and reputation will stand the test of this week-long misunderstanding.

    Sincerely,
    John C. L. Darby
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    The Beach Company
    211 King St., Suite 300
    Charleston, SC 29401