A Texas city has ordered a well-known businessman and Vietnam veteran to remove dozens of American flags from his property.
According to KTVT-TV, Andre "Frenchy" Rheault has flown multiple American flags on the grounds of his landscaping company, Frenchy's, for more than two decades — so the citation he received in the mail Thursday was difficult to swallow.
"I'm patriotic all the time,” Rheault told KXAS-TV. "They say I have too many flags? There is no such thing as having too many flags."
The problem is that Denton, Texas, city code states that a property within city limits may fly only one American flag, one Texas flag and one "miscellaneous" flag, KXAS reported.
"That's the same ordinance everyone in this town follows," said Lancine Bentley, Denton's community improvement services manager. "It's there for everybody."
Bentley said the city received a complaint about Frenchy's and upon investigation, found illegal ground signs, no certificate of occupancy, parking on an unapproved surface — and dozens of American flags, which fall under “too many wind devices without a permit,” KXAS reported.
Bentley added that Rheault could purchase a $90 permit up to three times annually that will allow him fly as many flags as he wants for 30 days — but year-round multiple flag-flying is out of the question.
Rheault told KXAS he's rectified most of the code issues but won't remove his flags. He said he'll fight the matter in court in necessary.
“Our country is extremely divided right now, and if there’s one thing that can bring us together, it’s the American flag,” Rheault told KTVT.
He's been getting a lot of community support since news of the citation hit; a change.org petition on Frenchy's behalf had garnered more than 3,600 signatures as of Friday afternoon.
“He’s huge," Denton resident Doryce Judd told KTVT. "He’s bigger than life."
But apparently not with everybody: KTVT reported one man claiming to be a former Army officer wrote online that “Frenchy’s constant overuse of the American flag to promote his business annoys me.” The citation was delivered the same day Frenchy’s placed 30 flags in the front yard of a house where a family awaits a soldier’s return, the station noted.
Rheault said he’s contacted city leaders for help.
"I didn't want it to go this far,” he told KXAS. “I’m Denton’s biggest fan. I just wanted to fly my flags.”