- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 6, 2014

In the spirit of Independence Day, a couple of Los Angeles business executives paid off the fines for a Florida home-owning veteran who faced foreclosure for an American flag on his front stoop.

Larry Murphree, a 73-year-old Air Force veteran, has been fined thousands of dollars by his Jacksonville homeowners association and has even had a lien placed on his home because he refuses to remove a 17-by-12-inch flag from a flower pot on his porch.

“When we read his story it offended our sensibilities,” said Scott Carter, CEO of Lear Capital, Fox News reported. “The thought of him losing his home, we felt it was wrong. We wanted to help.”

Along with Lear Capital founder Kevin DeMerritt, the executives paid the $8,000 he owed plus another $2,500 for tax adjustments.

“They [homeowner’s association were using the strong arm of money to get him to get rid of the flag,” Mr. Carter told Fox. “They were skimming the money from his [paid] dues to pay the fines which created a lien on his house.”

“What was a small contribution from a company was a significant gesture in his eyes,” he said.

“The flag is worth fighting for,” Mr. Murphree said. “If they want to foreclose, bring it on. I’m getting calls from all over the county to stand up. That’s what I’m going to do.”

Mr. Murphree’s tiny flag violates the “flower pot ordinance” at the Tides Condominium at Sweetwater, which says that planters are designated for plants only, the Associated Press reported.

Homeowners in the community are permitted to display flags, but it must be done in accordance with specific condo rules.

“We have established rules that conform with the U.S. Code and Florida statutes regarding flag etiquette, and we encourage residents to fly American flags in accordance with the state and national standards,” the homeowners association’s lawyers said in a statement.