Army Veteran Fights HOA for Right to Fly the Flag

HOA flag disputeA 77-year-old Army veteran in Macedonia, Ohio, is fighting for the right to raise the American flag in his front yard.

Fred Quigley, a retired Army chaplain and minister who served active duty during the Vietnam War, is being threatened with legal action because his flag violates his homeowners association's rules on flagpoles. As an alternative, the HOA offered to place the flag at the entrance of the development.

Quigley (pictured above at his home) refused.

"It's the principal," Quigley told AOL Real Estate during a phone interview. "It's about patriotism, and the soldiers I've had to hold as they were dying. It's just important to me to be bold with the flag."


And according to Quigley's attorney, Gerald Patronite, the HOA has no right to stop his client. Patronite cites a 2003 state statute that addresses the homeowner's rights in such a dispute. "Essentially, no deed restriction or association can abridge this right to display the flag," he told AOL Real Estate.

Patronite said that the HOA's rules state that a flag can only be displayed if affixed to the home. But doing so, he said, would force Quigley to hoist a much smaller flag.

flag dispute hoaQuigley's daughter, Karen Wilson, said that she doesn't understand how anyone could deny her father the right to raise the flag.

"It's a standard 15-foot pole, a 3-by-5 flag," Wilson said. "It's not outlandish, it's not over-the-top, and it fits in with the house."

Joseph Migliorini, the representative for the homeowner's association and former mayor of Macedonia, which is between Cleveland and Akron, did not return our calls. He did, however, tell a local news affiliate that he plans to take Quigley to court if the flagpole is not removed.

"We just want the rules and regulations followed," Migliorini told NewsNet5. "We're not gonna have rogue homeowners that are going to just do what they want to do and not get approval."

This is not the first time that homeowners have clashed with an HOA over the right to display the flag. In Idaho, the dispute ended in a public apology from a homeowners association that prohibited flags in "common areas." In that case, the "Freedom to Display the American Flag Act" of 2005 was cited to uphold the homeowner's right.

On Wednesday, members of the local American Legion post joined Quigley (pictured left) in a flag-raising ceremony in protest of the association's policy. Quigley said that he's been given until Monday to remove the flag, or further legal action will be taken by the HOA.

"As a minister and a chaplain, I have fought for people," Quigley said. "Now I fight for myself."

UPDATE: As of Tuesday, a motion has not yet been filed against Fred Quigley, according to his daughter, Karen Wilson. The flag is still flying atop the flagpole, she told AOL Real Estate via email. A second flag raising ceremony has been scheduled for July 4.

UPDATE X2: On Friday, July 1, Karen Wilson announced that the HOA relented, granting retired Army veteran Fred Quigley the right to fly his flag in the front yard of his home.


Read more about homeowners associations.

These AOL Real Estate guides can help, no matter whether you choose to buy or sell:

More on AOL Real Estate:
Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
Find homes for sale in your area.
Find foreclosures in your area.
Get property tax help from our experts.

Featured Comments

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

3341 Comments

Filter by:
David Jones

@mjcmarik2000 - Contracts cannot supersede federal law.

June 26 2014 at 12:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Erica

They need to move to Afghanistan. Micro-managing other's personal choices is all the rage there.

July 27 2011 at 11:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
rkilleb769

By law the HOA can not stop the flying of the American flag. The same issue was also approached by the HOA I lived in last year. The HOA threatned and tried to sue the homeowner (who happened to be a very well distinguished veteran), lost after the Veteran called his Congressman. The HOA not only retracted the the issue but appoligized. The Veteran mounted a 20ft removable flag pole in his yard and post the colors everyday.
I am tired of this political correctness in this country and it needs to stop. This is our America and anyone that does not like it, leave and see what other country's say about your rights in their country. They won't make changes nor give you money................................
We have the best place to live and I am proud to be American.

July 27 2011 at 9:57 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
flyingeagles123

The vet should being taking the HOA to court for preventing him from using his 1st ameendment rights. More folks need to stand up to these HOA.You dont need one small group to tell you how live.If start sueing them maybe we can change the way they think. Yes I have lived with HOA and without. I am now retired without a HOA and live is good. My flagg is out everyday and I too am a vietnam vet.

July 27 2011 at 8:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
viperbl

SEC. 3. RIGHT TO DISPLAY THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES.

A condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management association may not adopt or enforce any policy, or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag of the United States on residential property within the association with respect to which such member has a separate ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use.

July 27 2011 at 7:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
proresumehelp

I live in an HOA community, and idiots make the decisions. Just because there's a rule does not mean it makes any sense whatsoever. Anyone with any brains or compassion at all is not going to say beans about a veteran flying a flag. He's earned the right and nobody... NOBODY has the right to tell him to take down the flag he fought for. It's just indecent and immoral to oppose him.

July 27 2011 at 6:57 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Becky E Prochnow

Isn't it bad enough the way the Vietnam vets were treated here in their own country (spit on coming off the planes, called baby killers, eggs and tomatoes thrown at them [some of them rotten])...now they have to fight to keep their basic rights? Is this whole thing just because a few un-important people (on a non-important commitee) have decided their paper is more important than the rights of people sent to a place to fight a war they didn't understand and didn't know who was the enemy and who was a friend. I am married to a wonderful man who came back from Vietnam with severe PTSD. He didn't know what was wrong with him so he drank to dull the mental pain; however, it brought bouts of severe flashbacks. So, he drank more! I knew the moment I met him he had PTSD and I was determined to get him into the VA programs. Tell him he couldn't have an American flag with a POW flag flying in his yard and lit-up all night on top of that. I'm afraid you would have a fight on your hands...FOREVER and fought with the same persistant, don't give up attitude with which he tackles everything. People the only way things change is if we change them. To not say anything is saying the fanatics are okay.
Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China 's huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.
Have I made my point? Have we learned nothing from history? There is a huge comparison between fighting for our rights (as a peaceful majority) or saying nothing and becoming irrelevant.
What bigger thing to fight for than being able to fly the basic symbol of this great country?

July 07 2011 at 7:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
glib1

"As of Tuesday, a motion has not yet been filed against Fred Quigley..." Did the HOA finally consult an attorney who told them there's a difference between the U.S. Flag and college, fraternity, and HS athletics flags? Or they just haven't found a judge ignorant enough to accept their filing?

June 30 2011 at 3:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gretchen

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands: one nation UNDER GOD, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

June 29 2011 at 6:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Gretchen's comment
mlod70

AMEN

July 27 2011 at 7:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
smiott6377

The HOAs seem to think that they're above the law. If Mr. Migliorini thinks he's going to win this case, he's a fool. He seems to think that his HOA rules take precedence over the federal law of our government! What a royal idiot that Migiorini guy is!

June 29 2011 at 3:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply