guest blog by Deborah Goonan
Finally, some common sense prevails in an Indiana flag dispute, thanks to intervention by Hancock County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Griffin.
In an October 23rd letter to the Fieldstone HOA Board of Directors, Griffin strongly urges the Association to resolve its dispute by November 1, or face legal suit to stop enforcement of penalties against the Willits household.
Check out the link to Griffin’s letter below, in which he states, among other things: “In summary, the association does not have a legally‐sufficient “substantial interest” invoked by the Willits’ display. Under the Flag Act, without a “substantial interest,” the association cannot regulate the Willits’ flagpole and American flag.”
And, furthermore, that “Aesthetic preference is not a legally‐sufficient “substantial interest” of the association with respect to American flag display, and I know of no other reason for an association to distinguish between flagpoles attached to the facade of a home and free‐standing flagpoles.”
By October 29, the matter was resolved. The Willits’ flag can stay; pole and all, including the POW-MIA flag. Fox 59 news reports that a compromise deal has been reached. The Willits will have to remove the flag and flagpole in the future when their house is sold.
The dispute dragged on for months. Griffin became involved after the story received national attention in the media.
Although the dispute is officially resolved, and the Willits received hundreds of phone calls of support, some of their neighbors have sent them anonymous hate mail, and Board members have also received threats.
What price, happiness in your HOA?
ps: Perhaps in Florida, Duval County Prosecuting Attorney can follow Griffin’s lead, with regard to Larry Murphree’s flag dispute with Sweetwater by Del Webb Master HOA?