30A homeowner continues to fly 'Trump Won' banner, plans to hang 'Let's go, Brandon' sign

Jim Thompson
Northwest Florida Daily News

DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — The case of the "Trump Won" banner hanging down three stories of a Walton County Road 30A home in Seagrove Beach, in apparent ongoing support for former President Donald Trump, will be back in front of Walton County's code compliance magistrate on Nov. 17.

And if a second politically themed banner that Georgia businessman Marvin Peavy says he plans to hang from his house on Saturday attracts a complaint, that case will be making its separate way through the county's code adjudication process, according to Walton County Code Compliance Director Tony Cornman.

How it started:'Not going to take it down': 30A property owner hangs 'Trump Won' banner on home despite fines

Previously:Supporters rally around huge 'Trump Won' banner on 30A home, calling it a 'symbol of hope'

In an Oct. 20 code enforcement hearing, Code Compliance Magistrate Hayward Dykes Jr. found Peavy in violation of a section of the county's land development code regarding signage along 30A under its local designation as a scenic corridor.

The code section, which does not address political content of signage, prohibits display of "streamers, feather flags, pennants, ribbons, spinner and other similar devices" on property adjacent to the beachside route.

The order gave Peavy five days to take down the banner or face a $50 per day fine. County code enforcement personnel checked the house Tuesday, the day after the deadline that Dykes' order had set for the banner to be down, and found it still on display, Cornman said Thursday.

In addition to starting the clock on the daily fines, Peavy's noncompliance means that he or a representative will have to appear at the Nov. 17 code enforcement hearing. At that hearing, Dykes will address Peavy's noncompliance, Cornman said. Between now and the Nov. 17 hearing, Cornman added that code personnel will continue to check Peavy's home and will report the amount in fines that Peavy has accrued to Dykes at the hearing.

Homeowner takes stand over flying Trump banner

Peavy, an unabashed hard-right conservative, has taken a hard line on the banner, vowing not to pay the daily fine and further threatening "to sue the county because they're stepping into my First Amendment rights."

Peavy has found significant support, including numerous offers of help in paying the $50 daily fine, offers that he has declined. Peavy and his supporters have nonetheless been frustrated by what they have seen as the county being nonresponsive to their queries regarding where to pay the fines, but according to Cornman, the beginning of any fine collection won't come until Dykes reviews the case at the Nov. 17 hearing and issues a ruling.   

Marvin Peavy, right, the Seagrove Beach homeowner cited for a 'Trump Won' banner hung on the side of his house, poses with one of the people who showed up to a support him on Sunday.

Despite that he wasn't cited for anything regarding the political nature of the banner, Peavy has cheekily suggested that the "Trump Won" banner doesn't necessarily relate to the former president's discredited claim that he won the 2020 election over Democrat Joe Biden.

Biden received more than 81 million votes, with Trump tallying just over 74 million votes in the contest. Biden earned 302 Electoral College ballots as Trump received 232 of those ballots. The election results survived a number of court challenges, but a large number of Trump supporters, including Peavy, believe that the election was rigged against Trump and that he actually won re-election.

'Let's go, Brandon' banner to fly soon over Seagrove Beach home

Cheekily, though, Peavy contended recently that the banner could refer to Trump winning numerous golf championships, a claim by the former president rebutted convincingly in a recent book by former Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly.

And in case people don't buy that assertion, Peavy has also suggested that the banner might not refer to Donald Trump at all.

"How many Trumps do you know?" he recently asked a reporter.

Peavy, who operates a Georgia real estate and property management business but lives in Seagrove Beach four days each week, is set to up the ante with the county on Saturday, when he says he'll put up a second banner at the house that will read "Let's go, Brandon!"

The slogan is a circuitous reference disparaging President Joe Biden that had its origins at a recent NASCAR stock car race. The race was won by driver Brandon Brown, and in a post-race interview, race fans were heard apparently chanting "F*** Joe Biden," as Brown's interviewer gamely suggested they were chanting, "Let's go, Brandon!"

What happens if Trump banner stays up?

According to Cornman, if the second banner does go up, and if the Code Compliance Department gets a complaint about it, Peavy could get a separate citation for it and have a second violation case moving through the hearing process.

Cornman said the work of his department is complaint-driven, meaning that code personnel aren't proactively looking for violations, but are responding to citizen complaints.

With regard to the "Trump Won" banner violation, Cornman said code compliance officials won't necessarily bring Peavy back into code magistrate hearings each month as long as the banner remains in place, but they will keep track of the days that the property isn't in compliance and will bring the issue periodically to the attention of the code magistrate for possible additional sanctions.

"I suppose he (Peavy) could leave it up and let the fines just keep accruing," Cornman said.

At some point, though, Cornman added, the county could consider "different options" to address the signage violation. Cornman did not say specifically what those options might be.