Larry Murphree – An Air Force Veteran, A Flower Pot, An American Flag
Florida – We first interviewed Air Force Veteran Larry Murphree, 77, back in 2014. His Home Owner’s Association was fining him $100 a day for having a small American flag in a flower pot on his front porch. Three years ago, according to various news outlets, he had to sell his condo to avoid foreclosure because the HOA was taking the fines out of his dues payments without his knowledge. He’s moved, but litigation is pending.
An “unauthorized object”
By June of 2014, his fines had grown to $8,000. That was four years ago. He thought he won the battle in 2012 after the HOA agreed to allow him to keep the flag in the flower pot. But they had only “recategorized” his violation and began fining him again. One year after we spoke to him, he had to sell the condo.
The Condo was in the Tides Condominium Association, a community for individuals 55 and older located in Sweetwater, FL (at a “tremendous loss” according to Larry in First Coast news). When we talked to him back in 2014, he was livid that the HOA was demanding he take down his flag. He simply refused to comply.
— First Coast News (@FCN2go) July 4, 2018
Larry retained attorney Gust Sarris, and filed suit in Federal court.
Murphree was once again charged $100 a day for the flag and the HOA took the money he was fined out of his HOA fee pay, which he was not aware of.
“So, the monthly homeowner’s fees weren’t being paid,” Sarris said, “That’s how they were able to get a lien on the property.”
Seven years later, the legal battle was still going on, Murphree said. He said the HOA started “nitpicking” and giving him violations for things such as having a window display during Christmas. In the end he was forced to sell his condo three years ago due to the fees and a lien that was placed on it by the retirement condominium’s association or face foreclosure. He was suing for $1 million.
“Should any man who served in the military lose his home, a retirement home, because they want to be patriotic? Anybody can see that the HOA has gone overboard,” Sarris said of the situation.
Court records say his lawsuit is due to come up in 2019. Larry now lives in St. Augustine and has 8 American flags flying proudly on his property, including one in a flower pot.
Sometimes HOAs creating a problem over the American flag only makes military veterans dig in deeper and refuse to comply.
Featured photo: screenshot