Cary families say HOA unfairly targeting Trump flags with new rules
Posted January 26, 2021 5:00 p.m. EST
Updated January 27, 2021 12:12 a.m. EST
Cary, N.C. — Two families say the homeowners association for their Cary neighborhood is playing politics by banning political flags.
Laurie Cherico said her family started flying a flag in September supporting former President Donald Trump's stances on law and order and the Second Amendment. They received some opposition from the Carolina Preserve HOA, but it faded away.
Last week, however, they got notice from the HOA that the flag violates the neighborhood’s new flag rules.
"I believe in our Constitution, our amendments. I believe in people's right to express their feelings," Cherico said. "I don't want to bring left and right into it, but I feel like [the rules are], if you're not left, you're not right, and I am entitled to my opinion."
The family said the HOA is infringing on their right to free speech. Carolina Preserve had previously only regulated the size of flags and how they were mounted, but the HOA recently changed the rules to prohibit “any flag that falls within the definition of a 'political sign.'”
"I think it's bullying and harassment,” said Frankie Difani, another neighborhood resident who flies a Trump flag.
HOA general manager Christine Hast declined to comment on the new flag rules. The association plans to levy $50 daily fines against the two families if they don't comply with the rules, but the families have the right to appeal their case to the HOA board first.
Randy Difani said he and his wife plan to let the fines pile up on principle.
"Changing the rules to violate your constitutional right is not their authority, in my opinion," he said. "We want to stop this level of overreach and let them back away so they can let the people live in a free America."
The Chericos said they feel attacked by the HOA, which in 2014 demanded they take down a security sign showing the outline of a human target with shots to the head and chest along with the phrase “Nothing Inside Is Worth Dying For.” The family changed the sign to come into compliance, and seven years later, it remains outside their home.
“I will not roll over and play dead," Laurie Cherico said, vowing that the Trump flag would likewise remain.