Veteran May Lose Home Because He Displayed an American Flag
What the heck is going on here? A veteran has been charged thousands by his HOA ... for placing a small American flag in a flower pot on his front porch. And yes, this is happening in America. The Sweetwater Florida resident has been involved in a battle over his right to display the flag for two years, and it looks as though he may end up losing his home as a result of it.
Veteran Larry Murphee says he just wants the whole thing to go away. "It's such a minor little thing," he explained. "They keep coming after me." The offending flag is about the size of a sheet of notebook paper, just in case you were wondering.
This hardly seems like it could be possible, yet Murphee claims the homeowners association has issued him a rather substantial fine for refusing to remove his patriotic decoration. "They just sent me a letter that says I owe them around $8,000 and they put a foreclosure lien on my house," he said.
Eight. Thousand. Dollars. For a flag. The lien is why he may be losing his home soon -- according to the HOA's attorney Michelle Haines, if he doesn't pay the fine within 30 days, they can move forward on a foreclosure.
Somebody hates America.
Now I get that when you choose to move into a community with regulations, you need to abide by the rules. But I'm pretty sure that Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions don't trump either state or federal law. I know Ms. Haines is a fancy lawyer and all, but maybe she should take a look at the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005, which is summarized as follows:
"[A] condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management association may not adopt or enforce any policy, or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or prevent an association member from displaying the U.S. flag on residential property within the association with respect to which such member has a separate ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use."
Now maybe a case could be made that the front porch is owned by the association and not Murphee himself, but seriously? Let the man have his flag, and maybe instead of putting a lien on his property, shake his hand and say thank you for serving to protect your right to be offended by the American flag.
Do you think people should be allowed to display an American flag on their property?
Does the HOA trump federal law?