HOA threatens heavy fines for flying American flag

(NBC) - A Chester County, Pennsylvania community is embroiled in a flag controversy after several homeowners were told they couldn't fly any flags on their property, including the Stars and Stripes.

Several residents of the Liongate community in Uwchland Township, PA say they were delivered letters from their homeowner's association threatening "heavy fines" for hanging flags outdoors.

Wentworth Management Company, who runs the HOA for Liongate, told homeowners the flags violated a bylaw put forth in the community's agreement.

Debra Heath wrote Tuesday Wentworth has barred her from flying seasonal flags for years, but was even more angered to learn her neighbor was told he couldn't fly the American and POW flags.

"I am infuriated that this joke of a management company is once again harassing this man who has gone to Iraq to fight for our country and watched his comrades be killed and captured," Heath wrote.

Heath said this is the second time she and her neighbor were cited for the flags. The man's wife was warned to take the American flag down days after he shipped of to the Middle East in 2006, they say.

"Regardless of what may be in the bylaws, I'm gonna fly it regardless," the man, who asked to remain unidentified, said Thursday.

The neighbors say they've contacted Pa. State Rep. Curt Schroder about the situation.

But it seems they've got the law on their side. While the HOA's bylaws may prohibit flags, Pa. State law bars such organizations from enforcing such a rule when it pertains to the American, Commonwealth or military flags.

NBC Philadelphia took a copy of the law and the letter delivered to the neighbors to Wentworth Management to discuss the issue.

We were met by Rebecca Rambo, the same woman who signed the warning letters to residents.

Rambo refused to comment on the situation. We also left messages for Wentworth's CEO, but have not heard back.

Heath says the neighbors are prepared to hire an attorney to defend their right to fly flags.

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