Vet protests HOA restriction with upside down flag display

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by Rucks Russell / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on May 20, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 21 at 6:38 PM

HOUSTON—After fighting for his country, a Houston homeowner said he’s been forced to fight his HOA to fly his American flag.

“Only me,” said Billy Martin, who once fought in Vietnam and serves as a military Chaplain.   “I’m the only one in this entire place have they demanded I remove my flag and flag pole.”

That’s why the stars and stripes in front of Martin’s home fly upside down.  He called it his way of protesting the Forest Lake Townhome Association for filing a lawsuit and slapping him with a $200 a day fine. 

Some of his neighbors fly flags, but theirs are attached to their houses. 

According to the lawsuit, Martin’s flag violates the community’s bylaws because the flag pole rests on common grounds owned by the HOA.

Martin said he believes he’s being punished by the association because he once complained about the old beat up and weathered flag that used to fly atop a pole near the community club house.

He demanded it be taken down and replaced.  Eventually, it was.

“A few days later, I get a letter in the mail demanding I remove my flag and flag pole,” he said.

And that’s when the battle began.  Martin said he will never back down.

“If I lose my home, if I lose everything I have, my flag will fly,” he said.

Martin has been given a January trial date.  By then, he could be facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines.

Channel 11’s calls to the HOA’s attorney were not returned.

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