Flag-flap lawyer seeks to block foreclosure during appeal

Article Courtesy of Palm Beach Post
By Alan Gomez
Posted September 19, 2003 

WEST PALM BEACH -- Fresh off a weekend where he appeared on Fox News, CNN, ABC's Good Morning America and more than 30 radio shows across the country, George Andres walked into the Palm Beach County Courthouse Thursday to continue his fight.

Andres, 66, is embroiled in a four-year legal battle with his homeowners association over his right to fly the American flag from a flagpole in his front yard.

Judge Edward Fine ruled last week that the Indian Creek Phase III-B Homeowners Association can foreclose on Andres' Jupiter house by Oct. 9 unless he pays the $25,451 -- plus interest -- the association paid in legal fees.

On Thursday, Andres' attorney, Barry Silver, appealed Fine's ruling. Silver said he will file a motion today requesting Fine to stop the foreclosure while the appeals process goes through the 4th District Court of Appeal.

Gov. Jeb Bush, Attorney General Charlie Crist and the state legislature have all sided with Andres over the years.

Andres, wearing a shirt Thursday that read "American Spirit will prevail," said he was encouraged by this weekend's show of support stemming from the media blitz -- which included interviews by reporters from the Los Angeles Times to the New York Post.

Silver said he received about 200 e-mails, Fox commentator Sean Hannity promised to pay $5,000 out of his own pocket to help cover the costs and Andres opened a bank account to collect contributions from supporters from as far away as Korea.

But his wife, Ann, said that's all been secondary.

"We don't want all this publicity," she said. "We just want to fly the flag."

The association says Andres, a Marine Corps veteran, always had the right to fly the U.S. flag, but that his flagpole violated homeowners restrictions.

Although the homeowners association no longer contests his flagpole, they argue it was in violation at the time the association expended the legal fees. Officials have said they don't want to foreclose, but want to retrieve their legal fees for the cases Andres lost.

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