Courtesy of The Florida Times Union
A law firm representing the homeowners association that fined a 73-year-old veteran $100 a day for violating its rule about displaying the American flag fired back Thursday after the story spread from blog posts to cable television.
The McCabe Law Group issued a news release Thursday afternoon on behalf of The Tides Condominium at Sweetwater by Del Webb, located on the Southside, that said the association doesn’t prohibit any owner from “properly” displaying an American flag.
|Larry Murphree, the homeowner, sued the association after he said he was fined $100 a day for putting a flag in a flower pot near his front door. He said he eventually was billed about $8,000 by the association. The association placed a lien on his home. Murphree said he could lose his home if he doesn’t pay the lien.
Read: 17-by-12-inch American flag jeopardizes Jacksonville man's home in flap with homeowners' association
“The Tides is not foreclosing on Mr. Murphree’s property for improperly displaying the American flag,” the news release said.
The small American Flag planted in a flowerpot outside his Jacksonville sparked a legal battle in federal court.
“The Tides seeks
monies due from any owner whose accounts are delinquent.” The statement goes on to say that the “lien relates to the failure to pay regular monthly assessments.”
Michelle Haines, an attorney with McCabe, said the flag had nothing to do with the lien.
She said she couldn’t discuss Murphree’s outstanding debt because of privacy laws. Also, she said state law and association regulations allow a maximum fine of $1,000 by a homeowners association.
Murphree said after he was fined $1,000, and while he was recovering from a neck surgery, his automatic payment for his association dues increased to $200 from $190. He said after the $1,000 was paid, the payment went back to normal. He said after the association placed a lien on his property, his payments stopped.
He said he called the company that facilitated the automatic payments. He said they told him the homeowners association said they planned to put a lien on the property.
Murphree took issue with the law firm’s assertion that the American flag had nothing to do with the lien. He said if his money wouldn’t have been diverted, his homeowners association dues would be paid.
“They are 100 percent wrong,” he said. “It has everything to do with the flag.”