August 27, 2013

Boston condo owner says U.S. flag will stay despite fines

Mark DiGiovanni says the law is on his side, pointing to the 2005 federal Freedom to Display the American Flag Act.

The Associated Press

BOSTON — A Boston man says he has no plans to remove the 6-foot-by-10-foot U.S. flag hanging in the window of his condominium, even though management threatened to fine him $25 a day starting Tuesday for breaking condo association rules.

Mark DiGiovanni tells the Boston Herald he was given a "gentle reminder" on Monday from the company that manages the building in the Fort Point neighborhood about the penalty for breaking the rule that requires all units to have only white curtains.

DiGiovanni, 52, a facilities manager and set designer, said the law is on his side, pointing to the 2005 federal Freedom to Display the American Flag Act. The law says condo associations "may not adopt or enforce any policy, or enter into any agreement that would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag of the United States."

Condo association trustee Sean McGrail said management was reacting to a complaint about DiGiovanni breaking the curtains rule.

McGrail had previously accused DiGiovanni of "fake patriotism."

"When he bought it, the condo documents were very clear. In my opinion, he doesn't want to hear 'no,' " McGrail said.

He said the association doesn't want the 92-unit building to look "like a college dorm."

State Rep. Hank Naughton, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said "the Constitution trumps these private agreements."

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