American flag pole may cost Navy vet $100 fine

Published: Sep. 11, 2015 at 9:32 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 12, 2015 at 2:35 PM HST
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KAPOLEI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A strict homeowner's association policy in Kapolei has one Navy couple crying foul. They've been cited and could be fined $100 if they don't take the flag pole they installed on their front porch.

"It's freedom. It's what my husband and my father have fought for -- our freedom," said Tiffinie Lajoie, who says flying an American flag is her way of expressing gratitude for those in service to our country.

"Absolutely and it reminds me, especially today being 9/11 -- it reminds me of the sacrifices," said Lajoie.

The Lajoies bought their townhouse in the Awakea at Mehana community in Kapolei and moved in early last year. About four months ago, they installed a flag holder into the pole of their front lanai (porch).

"We put the flag up and a couple weeks after that I received a notice from the association saying that we cannot have a flag hanging from the house because it is attached to the lanai," said Jimmy Lajoie, who is stationed at Pearl Harbor.

"Why can't we attach it to our own dwelling of our own house? We're paying our mortgage. We're paying our association dues. Why can't we have it on our house? It really shouldn't make a difference," said Tiffinie.

The Lajoies have been cited three times. According to the latest notice dated September 2, they are in violation for installing the flag bracket. The section of the "Mehana House rules" they're cited for prohibits hanging anything from their lanai, other than plants, which may be visible from any other unit or the community.

"I don't think they're unpatriotic, but I think they're -- this is just ridiculous," said Jimmy.

According to Jimmy, the homeowner's association told him drilling into the lanai pole creates a risk for termites. He says he'll be fined $100 if it's not taken down within 30 days.

"I've been in the Navy for 14 years. I've gone on multiple deployments. I've spent greater than 9 years sea-duty time out to sea defending our freedom, and to have someone tell me I have to take the American flag down hurts me personally," said Jimmy.

According to the Lajoies, about 10 other neighbors used to also have flags hanging from their front lanai but in recent weeks many were removed. They say they don't plan to take down their flag, and are hoping to settle the dispute without paying a fine.

Hawaii News Now reached out to the Mehana Community Association for comment and has not heard back from anyone.

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