A Minnesota woman, the mother of two servicemen, is fighting her own battle with her condo association after they told her she needed to remove the large American flag hanging from the outside of her condominium.
From purses to pillows, Angie Hildebrandt's love for the American flag is on display constantly. But for her, the mother of a Marine and an Army specialist, one thing was missing: an actual American flag. So Hildebrandt installed a bracket on the outside of her porch and began to fly the stars and stripes.
"It's everybody's right to fly this flag, including me," Hildebrandt told KSTP-TV.
But according to the Southdale Gardens Condominium Association, Hildebrandt's flag-flying is against the rules.
Nigel Mendez, an associate with Carlson & Associates, the firm representing the condominium association, told TheBlaze that Hildebrandt knew she was breaking the rules from the very beginning. He said that she initially asked for permission to install the flag, and after her request was denied, she still went ahead and installed the brackets on her porch.
After the condominium association confronted Hildebrandt, she removed the flag, installed a two-by-four on her porch, cut a hole in the screening of the porch and flew the flag out of that hole, Mendez said. But by cutting a hole in the screened porch, Hildebrandt still altered the facade of the building, thus still breaking the association's rules.
Mendez said residents of Southdale Gardens condos own the inside of their property and are free to do with that as they wish. However, the outside of the condos, the facades of the building and porches, are not residents' property. Mendez claimed Hildebrandt and all other residents know the rules — including this one — when they move into their homes. Residents have four days to review the rules and policies and are able to move out without penalty during that time period if they feel as though they cannot adhere to the rules.
But speaking to the local news, Hildebrandt said flying the American flag was never something that was specifically prohibited in the condo's rules — and Mendez says she's right.
"[The rules] also don't state that she can't go outside and paint the outside of the building orange," Mendez said. "She's not [flying the flag] in her exclusive-use area."
"The association is proud of her and her children," he said, blaming a Minnesota law on the appearance of condominiums for the enforcement of the rule. "It's just that they have to enforce the rules that you can't have anything on the outside of the building."
But according to Jeff Kase, a Minnesota attorney with the Office of the Revisor of Statutes legislative firm, Hildebrandt may have a way to fly her flag after all.
In 2005, Kase said, Minnesota's legislature passed a statute that voids or limits any provision that prohibits a homeowner or tenant from displaying an American flag. The only thing is, Kase said, that statute is still up to interpretation.
"The idea here is that, yeah, if you want to put a little American flag in your window, great," Kase told TheBlaze. "If you want to take a 40-by-40 and have it hanging on the side of the unit where you live, that might be a problem."
Kase also said this statute is unique in that it allows for the recovery of attorney fees for whichever party is correct if used in court.
Meanwhile, Hildebrandt has been calling upon the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005, signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006. Mendez told TheBlaze that that act is only applicable to property that is hers, not the condo association's.
Whether or not Hildebrandt will be able to legally fly the American flag, her community has rallied behind her. Over the weekend, dozens of protestors gathered in the Minneapolis suburb of Edina, waving flags and calling on the condominium association to allow her to fly her flag.
Alpha News, a Minnesota-based news outlet, reported that Hildebrandt has been facing opposition to her flag from those outside of the association as well. She alleged the first flag she tried to fly was stolen, and the second was cut to pieces.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by a local radio personality to raise money for Hildebrandt in order to help her "move out and move up."
"Screw those tiny dictators at her condo association," the page states.
Hildebrandt did not respond to a request for comment from TheBlaze.