claims victory in flag-flying case
Courtesy of The Sun Sentinel
December 03, 2006
Jupiter · A man still fighting to fly the
American flag on his property is claiming victory in a judge's decision to award
his attorney legal fees.
But the win for Boca Raton attorney Barry Silver is part of a struggle between
George Andres and his homeowners association that isn't quite over.
left is a technicality, Silver said.
Silver, who five years ago took on Andres' case without prior payment, on
Thursday was awarded $126,225, or twice his regular legal fees for a foreclosure
Andres otherwise could have lost his home in order to pay homeowners association
fines and legal fees that had accumulated in the case.
"I hope that this teaches homeowners associations you just can't do
that," said Andres, a former U.S. Marine and Home Depot electrical
salesman. "You can't make laws that violate people's constitutional rights,
and that's what's happened here."
Andres for years has flown a freestanding flag on a 12-foot pole on the lawn of
his home, at 125 Doe Trail. The homeowners association claimed the flag must be
flown on a pole attached to the house; he said that method violates town codes.
The Indian Creek Homeowners Association Phase 3B, in achieving a permanent 2001
court order to remove the pole, was awarded more than $20,000 in legal fees and
fines, and filed a foreclosure lien on the property that Andres owns with his
The association won the foreclosure ruling -- then lost a 2003 appeal of the
case by Silver.
Meanwhile, Andres in 2002 won a temporary injunction to fly the flag on the
Even though a judge awarded legal fees for the foreclosure case, Andres now has
a right to seek attorney fees for winning the injunction -- but not until the
injunction becomes permanent, Silver said.
That would have to be decided by a judge or settled out of court, Silver said.
"It's just a technicality, which I can do fairly quickly," he said,
noting his preference for a settlement out of court.
Neither the Indian Creek Homeowners Association nor its attorney, Steven Selz of
West Palm Beach, could be reached for comment.
Andres over the course of his fight garnered support from Gov. Jeb Bush, and
federal and state laws to broaden the rights of homeowners were enacted.
One of them, signed into Florida law in 2004, gives homeowners the right to fly
flags, protects them from liens based on unpaid fines or fees, and requires that
sellers and developers make complete disclosures before homeowners buy into an