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Judge: Fla. Group Can Foreclose on Man

September 11, 2003

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ A man who owes $21,000 to his homeowners association for flying an American flag from a 12-foot pole in his yard could lose his home next month to cover the debt.

Former Marine George Andres vowed to appeal Wednesday’s ruling allowing foreclosure on his property, the latest chapter in a three-year legal saga that has drawn support from Gov. Jeb Bush.

The Indian Creek Phase 3B Homeowners Association permits flags flown only from brackets attached to house walls; Andres objected because the flag would have touched bushes in his yard.

A judge ruled in 2000 that Andres didn’t have a right to erect the flag pole and the association filed a lien on the property to collect its lawyers’ fees and legal costs.

Circuit Judge Edward Fine, who authorized foreclosure, agreed in May to reconsider his order. But on Wednesday, Fine rejected the argument by the attorney general’s office that Andres’ home was constitutionally protected by Florida’s homestead law.

Association Attorney Steven Selz said he hopes Andres decides to reach a settlement before his home is auctioned Oct. 9. ``There has to be a way to give the association a right to enforce its claims on the property,″ he said.

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