HOA asks Valrico vet to remove soldier statue honoring troops

Article and Video Courtesy of Channel 10 News

By Andre Senior

Published December 4, 2013

 Watch VIDEO


Valrico, Florida - A Valrico man is locked in a dispute with his homeowners association over a statue of a soldier on the front lawn of his home.

"It's a guardian of sorts," said Don Oglesby. "This is something that I wanted to have it my front yard."
The retired 23-year military veteran installed the statue on his lawn back in August to honor current and former members of the military and was even granted permission from the HOA's management company.
But he said Vanguard Management Group asked him to resubmit the request, which was subsequently turned down, but that was after the 10-day window that the management company is required to respond.


Because there was no rule specifically prohibiting statues, the HOA cited Section 11 of the Declaration.
"It presents an unclean, unhealthy, unsightly, unkept condition. It's obnoxious, it's an embarrassment, it's a discomfort, annoyance or a nuisance," recited Oglesby from the HOA rulebook.

He said the HOA has lumped his statue of an American soldier in with a rule that is meant to keep the Erin Arbor neighborhood free of public displays of offensive material.
"It's offensive not only to me but to the military community, that people that still serve, the people who fought and died for having our freedoms."
A woman who was on a stroll with her toddler and husband told us that she was not offended.
"We don't mind it one bit. It was fine when it came up. We liked it and it doesn't bother us one bit," said Liz Bollinger.


There is more bad news for Olgesby in the form of a letter from the HOA attorney. It wants him to pay $600 out of his own pocket for third-party mediation, but he said that is money he does not have.
"If it goes to court and they have a lawsuit, I can't afford a lawyer to fight them either. So, I need help" he said.
Olgesby is hoping that an attorney will be able to assist him in his fight against the HOA so he can keep his statue on his lawn and honor the men and women of the military.