Restaurant owner fights Confederate flag with zoning complaint

Restaurant owner fights Confederate flag with zoning complaint

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP/WIS) - A restaurant owner has filed a zoning complaint over a Confederate flag flying near his Orangeburg business, amid an ongoing feud with the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The Post and Courier reports an attorney for Edisto River Creamery & Kitchen owner Tommy Daras sent a letter Wednesday to the city of Orangeburg arguing the flag is on land that doesn't meet business zoning requirements. Some members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans threatened to have Daras arrested for trespassing when he sought to remove the flag last November.

The group said it was deeded 130 square feet (12 square meters) by the former property owner, a barbecue operator known for distributing white supremacist literature.

According to the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, the former owner of the property, Maurice Bessinger, gave the local chapter that portion of the land where the flagpole sits as a gift in the 1990s. The group said they have a deed and they pay taxes on the property. Daras, on the other hand, said his property title does not include those details.

"I've had two windows broken here," Daras said back in November. "My employees have been harassed. The phone was ringing off the hook cussing us out, blaming it on us as a racist."

Supporters demonstrated at the flagpole in November and a confrontation between them and people who wanted the flag removed ensued.

The Sons' Leland Summers declined an interview, but said the group would answer the complaint.

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