As sports figures take knees and cry out for unity, America’s veterans are standing upright and tall. Veterans wear T-shirts and hats to identify who they are and what they did. They’re proud of being an American.
When a veteran cements a tall aluminum pole in their yard and runs an American flag up it, you would be well-advised to just let them go about their business. They tend to get a bit “pissy” if they’re told they can’t do that, especially when it’s by a pesky homeowners association.
In this case, it goes way beyond a homeowner association simply sticking their noses in everyone else’s business. This case involves a Navy veteran possibly losing his home.
A homeowner in St. Michael City, Minnesota, a fellow by the name of Reed Herman who is the veteran in question, caused undue heart palpitations in the hearts of his community homeowners association when he grabbed an American flag and hoisted the stars and bars up his new shiny flagpole.
Though the association is angered enough by Herman’s obvious betrayal of their rules set forth, that huge vein on the sides of their necks is sticking out even more over his refusal to remove it. As such, they have foreclosed on his property, as one of their many finely printed and seldom read bylaws allows them to do.
The Preserve West Townhome Association claims the only way they can reimburse themselves for the $6,600 in legal fees they spent fighting with Herman, is to foreclose on the guys $300,000 home and sell it for what they can get.
As you have probably surmised by these figures making no sense, the reigning royalty of the ‘snob-snout’ homeowners association is abusing their power by using the veteran as an example to others in their highly-overrated community. You can’t run from politics. Even in its most minuscule form.
Joanne Dungan, the association’s current queen, snorted through her pinched nose, “Association living, I suppose, is not for everybody. We have a lot of rules, and we sign an agreement to abide by those.”
Being the good veteran that he is, Herman drove straight to the Wright County District Court and filed an injunction to stop the foreclosure of the home.
Herman hired local attorney Daniel Moak to represent him. Both he and his lawyer have zipped their lips concerning the upcoming case, only saying that what they are prepared to present in court will speak loudly enough.
The filing itself is geared around an honorable veteran who’s only desire was to fly the flag of the country he defended in his front yard for all to see. He met resistance from a group of snobby homeowners who continually assert their over-reach of control in every facet of everyday life from pet control, to wind chimes, to shrubbery.
Herman served 12-years with the Navy and the Naval Reserve as a medical corpsman, and he currently volunteers as a veteran’s liaison with Wright County Senior Community Services. At 62, he runs his own home inspection business and lives with his wife, Sandra.
After sending the association a notice of intent for putting up the pole, Herman said he never received a response so took that as an okay, go for it. It wasn’t even two weeks before he received a nasty letter from the association’s lawyer demanding the pole be removed.
After he was threatened with a $50 per day fine, the veteran removed the pole. A year later, Herman received a $3,700 bill from the association for attorney fees, complete with interest and fines for not paying on time.
After the association’s refusal to settle the dispute, despite Herman’s numerous attempts, they informed him his home was going on the Sheriff’s auction block so they could recover the total fees of $6,656 he now owed.
Dungan said the association has no problem with an American flag being displayed. It’s the flagpole they object to. Go figure…
“You cannot govern by exception,” Dungan retorted. “When we make a decision, it’s not just one property, it’s 128 properties.” She added how Minnesota law requires that citizens be allowed to fly the U.S. flag, but it also states that homeowners’ associations can impose restrictions on those rights.
“We have many veterans living here and we honor the flag. My husband’s a veteran. It has nothing to do with the flag. Just the pole, period.”
Herman said that his is not the only flagpole in the complex. He’s seen others but for some reason, only he is being targeted.
He isn’t satisfied with only filing an injunction to prevent the foreclosure, in a very smart move Herman also requested a judgment granting him full title to his home. We hope he wins. This is America, fly those flags proudly.