WESTCHASE, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa Bay area homeowner and a retired Cleveland police officer is being threatened with HOA fines over a pro-law enforcement flag.
The flag is often referred to as a thin blue line flag.
For William Seitz, a retired police officer, displaying the flag means showing support for law enforcement.
“I’ve been a policeman for 36 years, I’m retired. My 84-year-old dad who lives with me, he was a policeman. I lost my brother in the line of duty, he was a policeman. This is all out of respect,” Seitz said.
Seitz said for a year the flag has been displayed in front of his Westchase home without any issues.
This week, Seitz received this letter from his HOA to remove the flag, because it violates the rules.
“They gave me guidelines for it, it can’t be obscene, it can’t be political, they can’t be offensive,” Seitz said. “I went through and I said it’s none of these.”
An attorney for the Westchase Community Association told 8 On Your Side the flag is viewed as a political statement.
“Westchase’s current board of directors, I believe, view that as a political flag, or at least the property manager does,” said Attorney Jonathan Ellis.
According to the letter, if Seitz doesn’t remove the flag he can face fines of up to $100 a day.
Seitz said he spoke with HOA staff but was not able to come to a resolution.
“It’s just respect out of, for our law enforcement personnel. I seriously just said to them, let me replace it with something that has to do with respecting either the police, or all first responders, and they said no,” said Seitz.
Seitz plans to fight for a rule change.
“They also said if I needed to change the bylaws I have to write up all the stuff, send it to them, it goes to their counsel or meeting board, and it could be anywhere from 6 to 8 months before we get a reply maybe. I said well, it’s going to fly until then and we’ll see what happens,” said Seitz.
On Wednesday 8 On Your Side reported the same HOA took issue with another homeowner who put their Christmas lights up too early. That homeowner is also facing fines.
In the interest of full disclosure Seitz is married to a Channel 8 employee.