Posted: March 29, 2003
loses court case over his flagpole
Article Courtesy of the Sun-Sentinel.com
By Peter Franceschina
George Andres, the Jupiter man who has
been battling his homeowners association over his 12-foot flagpole, could
lose his house after a judge ruled Friday that the association can force
him into a foreclosure sale to collect legal fees.
The 66-year-old former Marine was unbowed,
vowing to continue the fight to display his patriotism all the way to the
U.S. Supreme Court.
the dispute is over the flagpole. But Andres,
a retired electrician, said he has a constitutional right to fly the flag
from the pole.
"We are going to keep fighting it," Andres
said. "People protest about what is going on in this world, and I protest
with my flag up, saying this is a beautiful thing. All the people should
be flying flags. The guys over there [in Iraq] are fighting for the freedom
this flag gives the people of this country."
The Indian Creek Phase 3B Homeowners Association
permits flags flown only from wall brackets attached to homes,
and its members
|Hoisting Old Glory
George Andres, who’s in dispute
with his homeowners association, has received support from Broward County
veterans who want to stage a Veterans Day ceremony at his home.
Friday's ruling is the latest development
in the saga, which dates back more than three years and has involved multiple
court cases and judges.
Andres lost the main case in the dispute,
when the homeowners association sued him. Palm Beach County Circuit Judge
Catherine Brunson ruled in October 2000 that Andres had to remove the pole,
and she later fined him $7,400 -- $100 a day for every day he violated
An appeals court agreed with Brunson that
Andres had to remove the pole, but so far he has been defiant.
In a separate court case, the association
filed a $21,000 lien against his home for legal fees and sought to foreclose
on it to collect.
Last year, the Legislature passed a bill
designed to alleviate Andres' legal troubles, and Gov. Jeb Bush signed
it into law.
It allows people to fly a removable American
flag "in a respectful manner" regardless of homeowners association rules.
On Flag Day last year, Bush delivered an American flag to Andres that had
flown over the Capitol and helped him raise it on the controversial pole,
amid applause from neighbors.
The new law was made retroactive, so it
would apply to Andres, but it was passed long after the lien was filed
in October 2000, after the homeowners association won its case.
Chief Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Edward
Fine ruled Friday in the foreclosure case, saying that the homeowners association
could go forward with the foreclosure, despite the new law.
Fine had to determine whether the new law
trumped the association's victory in the earlier court case. He ruled that
it did not, because the association had a vested right to collect its costs
as part of the judgment.
Boca Raton attorney Barry Silver, who represents
Andres, said he will ask Fine to hold off issuing the foreclosure order
so the case can be appealed. That appeal might not be filed if Andres is
required to post a bond, which typically is required to guarantee payment
by a losing party who takes the case to a higher court. Andres said he
couldn't afford to post a $21,000 bond.
Silver said there always has been a risk
that Andres would lose his home.
"It's simply something we cannot tolerate,
especially at this time when our nation is at war. We will continue to
fight," Silver said. "I am very, very optimistic that we will prevail in
the end. The court system will eventually right this wrong."
West Palm Beach attorney Steven Selz, who
represents the association, said board members are willing to negotiate
a compromise to settle the dispute and not force Andres to lose his home.
"My client is more than willing to be reasonable,"
he said. "Everything is open to negotiation."
But Selz said Andres wants the association
to pay his legal fees, which Andres said run about $90,000. Asked if he
would be willing to settle the case, Andres replied, "Sure. My flag stays
up, the law stays in and I get my money I spent."