Local veteran fighting flag display rules getting national attention

Article Courtesy of First Coast News

By Mike Lyons

Published July 3, 2014

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- First Coast News first did the story last Friday about Larry Murphee's fight to keep his American flag displayed in a flower pot outside by his condominium, and now he is getting support around the nation.

The Homeowners Association at The Tide Condominiums at Sweetwater in the Baymeadows area says it is against the rules to display a flag in his flower pot on his porch, but Murphree's fight is gaining national attention.

Murphree appeared via satellite on Fox and Friends Wednesday morning. Their Facebook site then got 20,000 likes in 11 minutes. He has supporters contacting him from all over the country, some offering money to help, including the mayor of a West Virginia town.

"It is wonderful," said Murphree. " I think this is the only way this is the only way this thing is going to be resolved . Kind of like David and Goliath , they are big and I am small , and it is going to take an uprising which is happening beyond my wildest dreams."

Murphree hangs an American Flag upside down in his garage, which he says is allowed when your property is in extreme danger. A foreclosure lawsuit is threatened if he does not pay $8000. The HOA says it is not about the flag, but about unpaid homeowners dues. The Air Force veteran says he will pay the true amount he owes if he is told exactly what that is, but he won't pay a $1000 fine levied against him for improperly displaying a flag. He says the HOA is responsible for his dues being unpaid.

"They called the collection company, the company taking it out automatically and told them to start sending that money to the $1000 fine , therefore the money was not going to where it was designed to go to. And you didn't know about it? No."

Murphree says it is a mess, a fight taking too much time. He just wishes they would let him fly his flag, but he will continue to fight it as long as he can.

"Absolutely. The flag is worth fighting , bottom line."

Homeowners' association attorney Mike McCabe says he's not arguing this case in the media . He says he will let a state court decide. McCabe says there is currently no legal action planned but a decision on whether to begin foreclosure proceedings has not been made.