Having recently moved into the area, the man wasn’t expecting this level of treatment. However, according to many of his neighbors, it was a punishment he deserved.
The changes he made to the neighborhood soon after he moved in divided them. His house was painted pink. Pink from top to bottom. He was left speechless by their reaction, as most of them did not take this well.
Texas resident Emilio Rodriguez picked the home that he thought was perfect for his life. As a disabled man, his house needed to have all the accommodations, and this one fit all his requirements.
When he moved in, no one minded him much. But it wouldn’t take long for his neighbors to change their thoughts about him.
Rodriguez’s plan was to find a home that would not only allow crazy interior changes but drastic exterior improvements as well. To do so, he had to move into a neighborhood with no Homeowners Association. Because they were the only ones who could stop his plans.
The young man found exactly what he was looking for when he purchased the house. It was in an area where no one could stop him from doing modifications no matter how crazy they were.
When he was a teenager, Emilio had a terrible accident that left him in a wheelchair and required constant medical care that he sometimes needed to perform at home.
That’s why, as he put it, he wanted his home to be as comfortable as possible, both for his body and soul. And he could only achieve that by making his house as he pleased.
Emilio had a big decision to make. He knew his neighbors were a bit conservative, and even if they weren’t, his plans were radical enough to upset anyone.
The young man wanted to paint the entire home in his favorite color. The problem was that the color was a bit unconventional. So how would the neighbors react to his decision?
Emilio decided to take it slow with the renovation. He first painted the back of his house pink. That’s right, pink. All of it. He wanted to go further than that, but he already began getting weird looks when people passed by his home.
Neighbors were starting to worry already about how disruptive the color was to the area and what they could do about it.
But before you know it, Emilio’s house was entirely pink. The gutters, the roof, and all the other little things were pink. This was his dream all along.
But not everyone was as excited as he was. People were making faces and even started discussing his place in the neighborhood. But what could they really do? Emilio was about to find out very soon.
A lot of people couldn’t even believe he did that. Who would pink their entire house in pink, they thought. Well, their neighbor did.
Many from the area came to see the house with their own eyes. Some were just curious and nothing more, but some had some very strong thoughts about it. They were actually cooking up something that would take Emilio by surprise.
After a while, the threats began to pile up. An old neighbor was especially mad at Emilio for “ruining” the neighborhood.
The young man lived alone and started to fear for his safety. But being an artist, he wasn’t a stranger to upsetting people. It was part of his lifestyle. Still, he didn’t expect to get someone so mad just for painting his house pink.
At one point, Emilio noticed a small gathering of people in front of his house. He could hear them debating things related to his home. What were they doing there?
The young man rolled his wheelchair to the gate to greet them, only to cause them to leave. Apparently, they were planning some sort of way to deal with the pink house, from what Emilio could hear. This made him worry.
Some neighbors were really upset with the young artist. They even tried to call the police one time, making up a weird fake reason about something that was going on inside his house. All to pressure him to paint his house a “normal” color.
When Emilio saw the cops show up at his door, he thought they came to deal with the harassment he faced because he painted his house that way. He couldn’t be more wrong. They said someone called them about suspicious activity inside the pink house. The cops obviously didn’t find anything.
When Emilio Rodriguez moved into the house, it sported a beige exterior that made it similar to the other homes in the neighborhood.
However, now the house was much more unusual. It was not the light, creamy shade that you might expect. It was a very loud and intense Pesto-Bismol pink. This was the young artist’s favorite color, and it brought comfort to him.
Emilio became even more stubborn after his experience with his neighbors. His plans were very ambitious.
Emilio was planning to paint even more areas of the property pink. He wanted to paint the driveways pink. And would get all the grass removed to install pink tile blocks. He would have pink spotlights on the trees and a pink car. He decided that he would even paint his wheelchair pink.
His conflict with the neighbors and his decision to paint his entire house pink brought Emilio some local attention from the media.
In an interview with KEYE, Emilio stated that his favorite color is pink, so he specifically looked for a house in a neighborhood without a Homeowners Association so that he could paint it that way. “I love this house. I don’t know why people don’t like it,” Emilio told KEYE.
Regarding the reaction of the neighbors to the nausea-inducing color, Emilio still didn’t seem to comprehend why anyone would object to it. In the end, he saw it as part of a cultural movement to “Keep Austin Weird.”
Despite the neighbor’s finding the color disturbing, the young artist believed the paint had a soothing effect on him. Luckily for Emilio, he didn’t have a nightmare Homeowners Association to deal with – unlike Larry Murphree, who just wanted to display a flag on his porch.
77-year-old War veteran Larry Murphree was extremely proud of his country. He had served six years as an Air Force air traffic controller during the Vietnam War, and although it was an emotional experience, Larry wouldn’t have changed a thing.
Little did he know, the real battle would begin years later — when he moved into a gated community in Sweetwater.
Larry was an unassuming man. He’d worked hard for all he had in his life. He had been a devoted husband, father, and grandfather.
He’d served his country. Now, as he was entering his golden years, he set out to fully enjoy the lifestyle that the Tides Condominium retirement community afforded him. He never expected them to turn on him.
Initially attracted by the communal pools and tennis courts, he had been one of the first to buy a brand-new house in the gated community.
Larry had even been nicknamed “The Mayor” at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Tides Condominiums in Sweetwater, Florida. Back then, he felt safe. But that was 10 years ago. Now, everything had changed.
Back in 2010, Larry had been sitting on his porch and enjoying the sunshine when he began to feel a touch of nostalgia. Deep in thought about his beloved country, he began to think about all the sacrifices that were made to make it what it was today.
Then, he thought about all the sacrifices that were still being made and felt an overwhelming urge to express his gratitude. Of course, he had no idea that what he was about to do would have repercussions 10 years later.
Larry decided to put a small American flag on his front porch in a flower pot. Although this was a nod and salute to the United States Of America, it also meant a lot to him.
It was a small flag, but it stood for a big thank you. But that small gesture would end up being one of the biggest mistakes of his life.
Not everyone in Larry’s community was delighted with what he did. Just a few days later, he received a letter. And when Larry read it, he could do nothing but gape in disbelief.
It turned out that the little flag that Larry hadn’t even imagined that anyone would notice — let alone be offended by — was about to become a seriously big problem.
According to the notice of violation, the American flag was an unauthorized object. It also demanded that Larry remove it immediately. Larry felt anger boil inside him as he read the letter.
He knew his small tribute flag wasn’t in “violation” of anything! Someone had obviously snitched on him! Right then and there, Larry made a vow. He would never back down. He wouldn’t let them win. But he was in for another nasty surprise.
A few days passed and the flag still sat in the flower pot — in blatant defiance. In Larry’s eyes, it was his house, his flag, and his porch. Why should he remove it? And why should he hide his patriotism in fear of offending someone else’s delicate sensibilities?
But Larry’s courage and defiance didn’t deter the HOA. In fact, he was only making it worse. He received another letter. And this time, they were going to hit him right where it hurt.
Larry sniggered as he opened the second letter. What was it this time? But when he read what they had done, the smirk fell right off his face.
It turned out that Larry was fined $100 every day for as long as the flag had been in the flower pot! After 10 days and $1000 in fines, he knew it was time to bring out the big guns.
Larry’s lawyer, Gust Sarris, was equally surprised at this case. But Gust was adamant he would help Larry out. And so, a few weeks later, Gust filed a lawsuit in the federal court.
The two parties ultimately reached an agreement, which was that Larry could keep the flag in the flower pot. But Larry hadn’t realized that the Homeowners Association wasn’t afraid to play dirty.
A few months passed and the Home Owner Association amended their flag ordinance to a flower pot ordinance. This meant that Larry could fly his flag on a pole, but not in a plant pot. But then Larry noticed that they kept re-categorizing it and started doing the same thing again.
“The same flag, the same flower, the dirt, and the same plant. When would all this end?” Gust said in an interview. Surely this couldn’t go on forever? Unfortunately for Larry, it was far from over.
“I lost it. It just dawned on me there are people that strap on a gun every day to protect me and the people I love. It’s a small flag, but it stands for a big thank you,” Larry said angrily.
“They just started nitpicking everything that I did,” he said. And the legal war went on for 10 years! And throughout these 10 years, the Home Owner Association started plaguing the veteran himself.
They started to fine him for every infraction they could think of, such as having a snowflake Christmas window decoration up after Christmas, not parking in his driveway straight enough, and for putting up a solar light at Christmas instead of a battery-powered one!
But the battle doesn’t end here. Will Larry get justice?
To add more heat to the fire, Larry found out that the Home Owner Association had been making use of his fees to pay off fines that he had incurred instead of using the money for the original purpose.
They also placed a charge on the veteran’s property, claiming that he had not been paying his mandatory fees. This stress, financial difficulties, and turbulence of the past few years left Larry with no other options.
Eventually, after a 10-year battle, Larry agreed to an out-of-court settlement. In the years since he sold his Sweetwater condo, he got married and has moved into a new home in St. Augustine.
He likes his new community a lot better – there are no flag restrictions. He currently has eight flags displayed on his property, and yes, one of them is in a flower pot on the front porch. In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.