Co. Council Closes Account Over Bank Flag Flap
Cherokee County Council Pulls Funds From Bank of AmericaGAFFNEY, S.C. -- The controversy about the placement of American flags to honor a fallen Marine from Gaffney could cost Bank of America some local government deposit money, and perhaps much more. Monday night, the Cherokee County Council voted 5 to 1 to withdraw county money from any accounts held by Bank of America.Councilman Quay Little said that totals more than $500,000, but that number could skyrocket. If all county officials close their accounts, Bank of America would lose more than $1.5 million in customer funds, Little said.The controversy erupted last Wednesday when the body of a fallen Marine, Lance Cpl. Christopher Fowlkes, was brought back to Gaffney.
Slideshow: Fallen Marine Returns Home
A woman claimed the Bank of America branch along the procession route would not allow her to place American flags in the Marine's honor on the bank's lawn. She said the bank manager removed them from the property. (Full Story)Cherokee County Councilman Quay Little said, "I don't think Cherokee County should deal in business with a company with a policy of that nature."Bank of America says what happened was a miscommunication about the company's flag policy.The council members said that they don't blame the branch manager. They said she was just following orders from corporate higher-ups who could have changed their minds, but didn't.Councilman Bailey Humphries said, "Put the flag up -- run out right there at that moment. Put the flag up, apologize publicly that: 'We should have never done that, we regret what we've done, and we are patriots.'"Fowlkes died of injuries sustained in an explosion in Afghanistan. He is the first U.S. serviceman from Cherokee County to die in action since the Vietnam War.Councilman Tim Spencer said, "You know, and he laid down his life for everybody in this country -- and they can't fly an American flag? To me, they shouldn't be in America."The vote to close the county's accounts with Bank of America was nearly unanimous, with only one councilmember abstaining. Officials said the action isn't retaliation, but is a message they hope will change Bank of America's policy.