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Chase: Another Tree Going Up

SOUTHLAKE (KRLD) - The famous tale of Dr. Seuss' "The Grinch" had even more meaning to a local Southlake businessman after the Christmas tree he donated to a local Chase branch was ordered to be removed by Corporate officials at JPMorgan Chase.

From a big Christmas tree all decked out in blue and silver ornaments to a smaller one and of course lots of garland everywhere Antonio Morales walks around his Bellagio Day Spa ready for the holidays.  "Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year," says Morales.

He decorates a number of trees a year and donates a few to some of the businesses around town.

Morales, 50, donated and decorated a 9-foot-tall tree in the lobby of the Chase branch on E. Southlake Blvd. The cost of the tree was estimated at around $3,000. He did this as a goodwill gesture to the customers, branch and it's employees.

The tree arrived on November 22nd and was fully decorated, the cost of which came from Morales' own pocket. It was ordered to be removed on November 30th because according to Chase, some people were offended by it.

The bank's policy is to use only decorations supplied by the company according to Gregg Hassell, a JB Morgan Chase spokesperson. "We appreciate the thoughtful gesture. Unfortunately, we're unable to keep it on display for the remainder of the holiday season."


Emily Trube spoke with Gregg Hassell of JP Morgan Chase on 1080 KRLD

"A Christmas Tree...they could call it a Hannukah bush, a holiday tree or anything. There was not one cross or anything that symbolizes Christianity on that tree" said Morales.


Barbara Schwarz spoke with Antonio Morales on 1080 KRLD

Late Friday afternoon Chase announced they will be putting the tree back up.  "We have a policy of not accepting gifts from customers, but we are applying common sense here and putting the tree back up at our own expense.  We are thankful for Mr. Morales nice gesture," Hassell told CBS 11.

Morales walked around his Southlake spa Friday afternoon, pointing out all the Christmas decorations, including a tree that looked like the one he gave to the bank.  "I wanted them to have a beautiful tree because it came from my heart.

Morales says he will not give the tree back to Chase.  "It has been through the war zone, because so much topic on my little tree that i worked so hard to put it up."

He adds he's now looking for a new bank.  "I will not put that tree back I now know how they feel about the Christmas season."


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