Damn the American Flag!

Yes, that’s what many Homeowners Association boards in America are saying. And they’re suing to get rid of any trace of the Red, White and Blue.

You really have to watch this four minute speech by Texas Congressman Ted Poe!


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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

1 thought on “Damn the American Flag!

  1. robert

    This video is from January 2011 — over four years ago. The case was Lakeland Village Comm. Association v. Michael Merola; Cause No. 2010-80552; Harris County, Texas, 281st Judicial District Court.

    The lawsuit was eventually dismissed due to publicity. The God-knows-how-many home owners who are being ground into submission without any publicity aren’t so lucky, because the law is so weighted against them. If the case had actually gone to trial, Mr. Merola probably would have lost, and could have lost his home.

    “You really have to watch this four minute speech by Texas Congressman Ted Poe!”

    Why? It’s not a particularly good nor original speech. Anyone who remembers the Supreme Court’s 1989 ruling in Texas v. Johnson has heard some variation this speech a million times. Since then, Republicans have been trying to pass an amendment to the Constitution which would prohibit flag burning. It’s the conservative’s version of “political correctness”.

    I’d be more interested to hear Congressman Poe’s speech about U.S. Army Captain Michael Clauer and the Hertigate Lakes H.O.A. corporation in Frisco, Texas. For those of you not familiar with that story, the Heritage Lakes H.O.A. corproation foreclosed on Captain Clauer’s $300,000 home — which was completely paid for — to collect $800 in H.O.A. dues while Captain Clauer was commanding a combat company in Iraq (“Soldier in Iraq Loses Home Over $800 Debt” Mother Jones. May 28, 2010, the Friday before Memorial Day weekend).

    Except that I can find no statement by Congressman Poe about the Clauer case. Even Fox News and Rush Limbaugh ignored the Clauer story. That’s what I call a “clue”. Hmmmm…..

    It’s as though Republicans are more concerned about “symbols of the United States” (Poe’s words, at 25 seconds in the video) than the actual people of the United States. H.O.A. corporations are free to screw over American home owners as much as they want, and Republicans won’t lift a finger — because that would be “government interference in private contracts” — unless it affects the display of the flag.

    So when the Texas legislature passed House Bill 2779 in 2011, “which provided further protections for Texans to respectfully display the American flag, the Texas flag, and the flags of any branch of the United States armed forces without unreasonable interference from HOA’s in Texas” (Lawrence Dietlein), it was not an effort to protect individual American home owners from H.O.A. corporations. Because Republicans don’t give a damn about the individual home owners, including Michael Merola. If Merola was being fined by the H.O.A. corporation for something else, say parking a truck on his driveway or having his garage door open too long, Ted Poe would not have spoken up in his defense. Search for other speaches by Congressman Ted Poe about other home owners being oppressed by their H.O.A. corporations.

    At the time, N.P.R. reported that 10% of foreclosures in Texas were by H.O.A. corporations, not mortgage lenders (“Not So Neighborly Associations Foreclosing On Homes”. June 29, 2010). Instead of addressing the larger issues that desperately need addressing, the Republicans in Texas chose to micro-manage H.O.A. corporations as part of their decades-long campaign to codify the sacredness of the American flag, which trumps their “no government interference in private contracts” philosphy. The G.O.P. heirarchy of concern can be expressed as : flag > corporations > consumers (where “>” is the “greater than” operator).


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