Despite eventually removing his treasured flag, a Navy veteran was taken aback when they arrived at his house. As the local homeowner association blasted a Navy veteran with absurd daily fees after he refused to remove his American flag from his yard.
Reed Herman, a 62-year-old Navy veteran sent the local homeowner association (HOA) a written notice detailing his desire to install the lighted pole in his yard in Saint Michael, Minnesota as he knew that he must first get the association’s approval because he wanted to put a pole in his front yard to fly the American flag.
Herman finally decided to go ahead with his plans, after two months and several unreturned calls. The Navy veteran claims that he never heard back from any of the HOA representatives, he even attempted to get in touch with the development’s management organization but unfortunately, none of the HOA representatives ever responded.
And for deciding to install a flagpole in his yard to fly the American flag, Herman would pay a high price for the action. For apparently failing to provide written plans for the installation, the Preserve West Townhome Association’s lawyer sent Herman a letter warning him to remove the pole immediately, a response that Herman had not even expected–from the HOA. Just two weeks after Herman erected the flagpole in his yard, he finally got an answer from the HOA, the Star Tribune reports.
Having lost, Herman gave in and took down the pole, bringing his yard back up to the standards set by the HOA. Despite the fact that the veteran, who was worried, requested permission twice and even three times but instead, he got a warning that if the poll wasn’t taken out of his yard by the next day, he’d have to pay $50 in fines.
But all throughout, this wasn’t enough for the Association because disturbingly, claiming that he owed them for attorney fees and costs related to the dispute nearly a year later. The association sent Herman a bill for $3,700 and in order to recover the costs, the association informed Herman that they were foreclosing on his home, and unbelievably, they even continued to add to the bill until it reached $6,656!
In an interview, the association’s president Joanne Dungan said, “Association living, I suppose, is not for everybody. We have a lot of rules, and we sign an agreement to abide by those,” She said that although Minnesota law permits homeowners’ organizations to impose limitations, it also mandates that people be permitted to fly the American flag.
“You cannot govern by exception, when we make a decision, it’s not just one property, it’s 128 properties.” she said. “We have many veterans living here and we honor the flag, my husband’s a veteran.”
On the contrary, it’s the pole that caused the objection; Dungan in fact reiterated that residents are allowed to erect flags outside of their homes as long as it’s attached to the house. The ordeal, however, Dungan claimed that it has nothing to do with the American flag or Herman’s decision to fly it.
She said, “It has nothing to do with the flag. Just the pole, period.”
However, for Herman, he hopes that the judge will halt the process and ultimately clear the title to his home, claiming that there are other in-ground flagpoles that the HOA hasn’t targeted. The 62-year-old said that he is determined to fight the foreclosure and has filed a motion in the Wright County District Court for an injunction to stop it.
Regardless of how it may affect its residents, incredibly, the association is adamant to abide by a one-size-fits-all policy, but Herman could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars on his property if the auction goes ahead as planned.
Hopefully, the court sees this failure and rules in Herman’s favor. Because it’s clearly seen that the HOA failed to fulfill their end of the bargain, the association has the duty to respond to Herman’s requests in a timely manner as he is also required to seek out the HOA’s permission for changes to his property.
Watch the video report below for more details: