POST FALLS, Idaho - Curtis Benham, an 81-year-old Korean War veteran living in Post Falls, was asked to remove an American flag from his front window by his homeowners association or face the financial consequences. Benham is ready to stand his ground.
The Fieldstone Homeowners Association issued a violation notice, telling Benham he had "inappropriate curtains" in his front window. The inappropriate curtains the HOA was referring to is an American flag.
"I'm a veteran and that's my job," Benham said.
For the past two years three American flags have been displayed at the Benham home on Thrush Drive. He had one out front, one in a planter and another in the window. He's never received a complaint about any of them until last week.
On the morning of June 24, he found a notice taped to his garage asking him to remove the "inappropriate curtains."
"It's a symbol not a curtain, it's a symbol," Benham said.
Benham wasn't aware that he was in violation with Fieldstone HOA policy, and found it ironic that he fought for freedom, yet doesn't have the freedom to display the flag.
In section four of a 76-page HOA document, it says windows should be covered by drapes, shades or shutters and shall not be painted or covered with foil, cardboard or similar material. As to why the American flag was considered inappropriate curtains the HOA had no comment and declined to comment about the violation.
The HOA did say it responds to complaints as well as patrol homes but wouldn't say how they came across Benham's flag. It really doesn't matter to Benham what the HOA said about his American flag.
"It's going to stay where it's at," Benham said.
According to the violation notice, he has two more violations until he has to pay a $100 fee. It's a price Benham said he's willing to pay to show he's proud to be American.
Late Monday afternoon the attorney that represents the HOA said the board met Monday afternoon and decided to rescind the violation which means Benham's flag can stay.
Coincidentally, there's a new law in Idaho that would give people like Benham an easier path to respond to violations like this. That law goes into effect Tuesday and requires HOAs to allow more time before fining abd requires a majority vote from the entire HOA before fines are levied.