An air force veteran was forced to sell his house after his HOA fined him for the American flag he hung outside his place of residence.
A former Air Force Air traffic controller said that he was forced to sell his house after his Home Owners Association fined him for the American flag, and hung it in a flower pot outside his residence.
Larry Murphree has lived in the Tides Condominium Association, a community for persons 55 and older located in Sweetwater, Fla., since opening, the Washington Post Monday reported. One day he received a letter from the HOA in the building, who told him to take the flag placed in a flower pot on his porch.
Veteran forced to sell house after hefty fines for flying American flag, now heading to trial https://t.co/uOlIlbSKaG pic.twitter.com/heom4YEHxB
— First Coast News (@FCN2go) July 4, 2018
“I got a violation letter that explained the American flag was an unauthorized object, and for me to take it down,” Murphree told First Coast News.
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“I just lost it,” Murphree said after receiving the letter. “It dawned on me that there are people who strap on a gun every day to protect me and the people I love. It’s a small flag but it stands for a big ‘thank you.'”
The veteran said he refused to give in to the request. He held the flag in the flowerpot in spite of the fact that a fine of $100 per day.
“They started fining me up to $1,000, because I would not take the flag down,” Murphree said.
He said the $1,000 came from the $ 100 he got a penalty for each day the flag remained.
“We believe that we have the right to display the American flag. We filed suit in federal court,” Murphee, the lawer, Gust Sarris, told First Coast News.
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Murphree thought he won after the HOA agreed in 2012 that he could keep his flag in the flowerpot, but he said that the organization changed the “flag ordinance until a flower pot regulation.”
“One way or another re-categorised and began to do the same, again, same flag, same flower pot, the same dirt and the same plant,” Sarris said.
Murphree was also a surcharge of $100 per day for the flag and the HOA took the money that he got a penalty out of are HOA fee to pay, which he was not aware of.
“So, the monthly homeowner costs were not paid,” Sarris said: “That is how they were able to put a lien on the goods.”
Seven years later, the legal battle is still going on, Murphree said. He said that the HOA started “nitpicking” and gives him infractions for things such as having a window display during Christmas. At the end he was forced to sell his apartment three years ago because of the costs and a lien that was placed on the pension condominium association or the face of the shield. He was suing for $1 million.
“Should a man, who had served in the army, he loses his house, a home, because they want to be patriotic? Anyone can see that the HOA has gone overboard,” Sarris said of the situation.
Murphree said he lives in St. Augustine and has eight flags hang on his property, including a stuck in a flower pot.
Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for FoxNews.com. You can follow her via @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.