- The Washington Times - Friday, August 29, 2014

An 86-year-old woman is outraged — and so are several politicians and military veteran groups — that the company she rents her home from ordered her to tear down her U.S. flag, citing structural concerns and fair-housing reasons.

Meanwhile, the woman, Julia Lease, is digging in and refusing to take it down, saying she’s flown it proudly for 36 years, The Dispatch reported.

The company, however, says its order is just meant to keep the flag from damaging the property and to ensure fairness among different nationalities. The Dispatch reported.

“Their policy is a neutral one,” said Dimitri Hatzifotinos, an attorney who represents the New Life Multi-Family Management, which owns the Estates at Eden of Whitehall, where Ms. Lease has lived for years.

“You cannot affix things to their buildings,” Mr. Hatzifotinos said, speaking also to the issue of fairness, The Dispatch reported. “Ultimately, the issue is that if you allow a display of something — from our point of view, from a fair-housing perspective — you’d have to allow a display of anything. [Management is] not against American flags, nor do they have any policy against American flags.”

He said it was rather that the company was concerned more how flying American flags at the exclusion of other nations’ flags could violate the law.

Ms. Lease, who’s lived at the residence and flown the flag for more than three decades, said the company informed her suddenly of its problem with Old Glory in a blunt letter that read, in part: “Please remove flag from your front porch. Thank you!”

And she’s outraged, saying on Fox News that she didn’t think she’d ever live to see a time in America when the U.S. flag couldn’t be flown. Moreover, she’s refused to take down the flag, and said several neighbors and politicians have indicated their support.

Military and veteran groups, too, have rallied around her cause, The Dispatch reported.

One group, called United Ohio, planned a demonstration for the apartment complex this weekend.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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