Ex-Marine's Fight to Fly the American Flag Becomes National Issue 

Article Courtesy of
By Phil Brennan
Posted September 16, 2003 

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. – Embattled ex-Marine George Andres, threatened with the loss of his home because of his refusal to stop flying the American flag, can breathe easier, thanks to Sean Hannity.
His homeowners association is threatening to foreclose on his house to collect legal expenses and fines it says he owes because of his defiance of association’s orders to remove his flagpole.

Hannity assured Andres on Friday night’s "Hannity & Colmes" show that he would raise the $25,000 Andres needs to pay the claim and promised to contribute the first $5,000 out of his own pocket. Moreover, he promised to raise more money to buy and install a second flagpole on the property.

Andres has attracted nationwide attention and the praise of scores of his fellow Americans for his courage in refusing to back down on his determination to proudly display Old Glory 24 hours a day. Gov. Jeb Bush visited Andres' Jupiter home last year on Flag Day and later signed a law that allows Florida residents to fly an American flag "in a respectful manner" regardless of busybodies' rules. 

Bush has sent state Attorney General Charlie Crist to assist Adres by arguing that the ex-Marine’s home is constitutionally protected under the state's homestead law from foreclosure by a homeowners association. 

Circuit Judge Edward Fine, who had earlier approved a foreclosure, agreed in May to reconsider his order. Two weeks ago, however, Fine rejected Crist’s homestead argument and found the association had a right to file a lien. 

A foreclosure sale is scheduled for Oct. 9, but Andres' attorney has filed an appeal. Andres told that Crist was also appealing. Under Florida's homestead law, a homeowner’s residence cannot be taken by foreclosure except to collect back taxes or mortgages, or bills owed contractors for work on the home.

What Happened

In an interview with NewsMax, Andres explained: "I went before the board of the homeowners association four years ago and asked for permission to put the American flag on a pole, and the board gave me permission because the state of Florida had a law that was written in 1995 that said homeowners associations are prohibited from banning the flying of the American flag regardless of any rules and regulations or bylaws except for size, safety and location which must be adopted into the bylaws.

"I put the flagpole up, and seven months later a new board came in and ruled that I had violated the homeowners statutes on the flag, and I said, ‘What homeowners statute?’ They said the one that says that you have to fly the flag from your building. I asked them, ‘Where does it say that?’ 

"The fact is there is nothing in the homeowners documents that say where or when and state law prohibits them from saying any such thing.

"They took me into court, and they got a judge who said that I was guilty of violating the homeowners documents for flying the American flag on a flagpole. He said that it made no difference what the state law said, the homeowners documents counted. But they never found the place in the documents where it said where to put the flag."

Andres said he appealed, but the appeals court affirmed the first judge’s ruling, and five or six months later "they took us into foreclosure, and because of the homestead law, which is very clear that the only thing they can foreclose on is for taxes, mortgages or contractors' liens. The homeowners association was, however, using legal fees and fines, which does not come under the provisions of the law.

"At that point the attorney general stepped in to defend the homestead law, which is 130 years old. The judge had taken away the foreclosure order at that time, so we had another hearing before the judge five weeks ago. We explained that we were homesteaded in 1989 and all the time that this was going on. The judge said it wasn’t clear that we were homesteaded. 

"The attorney general told me yesterday that the judge was in error because first of all he said that there was no such thing as Title 36 US 10. I have now sent the judge a copy of that law."

Andres cited a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that says anything you do on your private property – signs, flags, and anything like that - is an expression of your feelings and is covered under the First Amendment of the Constitution. The judge doesn’t want to hear that either.

"Right now the attorney general has stepped in because they want to protect the homestead law and the state’s statutes on flying the flag. So right now my attorney Barry Silver and Attorney General Charlie Crist are readying an appeal."

The homeowners association refused to talk to NewsMax.

No matter what the outcome of the appeal, this courageous ex-Marine can be sure he won’t lose his home for flying the American flag, thanks to Sean Hannity. And the homeowners association can look foreward to continuing to learn what many of America’s enemies learned the hard way: what it’s like to go head to head with a U.S. Marine.

Semper Fi, George.

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