Man Paints House Overnight After Neighbor Complains About Yard
They Treated Him Differently
He had been treated in a way that many of his neighbors felt he deserved when he first moved to the region.
When he first moved in, he changed things right away by painting the entire house pink. Many others in the area were upset, which set him apart from the others.
Texas man Emilio Rodriquez had found a home that suited him best. He needed a house that would benefit his needs as a disabled man.
None of the neighbors gave it much thought when he moved in, but that would soon change.
What He Planned
Rodriguez looked for a house that would allow him to make interior and exterior alterations. He managed to do that by moving into a neighborhood without any Homeowner Associations to stop his project.
When finding what he was looking for, he bought the house. No one could stop his plans now.
Emilio was put into a wheelchair after a dreadful accident when he was a teen. He needed regular medical care, often in his home.
He wished for his home to be as comfortable as possible, so it only made sense for him to do just as he wanted with his new house.
Emilio knew his neighbors were old-fashioned, so it was not an easy decision for him. His plans were most definitely going to bring attention.
His favorite color was an unusual choice to paint his home, and he was unsure how his neighbors would react.
Emilio started with the back of his house first and started receiving startled looks when people passed by and saw he’d painted it pink.
There was soon worry amongst the neighbors and what they were to do about this attention-seeking color.
It wasn’t long before the rest of Emilio’s house, every sing inch, was painted pink. His dream house was becoming a reality.
As excited as he was, his neighbors were getting upset and discussing what they could do about the situation. What could they do?
Many were unbelieving that he had painted his whole house pink.
Many witnessed this peculiar house simply out of curiosity, but others had strong opinions and planned to do something about it while Emilio was unaware.
Eventually, Emilio started receiving threats and was told that he was “ruining” the neighborhood by an old neighbor in particular.
The young man worried for his safety, considering he lived alone, but art was part of his lifestyle, and he was used to people being upset with him. However, he never thought that a pink house would be that upsetting.
Eventually, there was a gathering in front of his house, and Emilio could hear them talking about his home. What was going to happen?
He made his way out to meet them in his wheelchair and overheard their planning to somehow deal with his pink house. He grew worried.
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.
Going Even Further
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.
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.
A War Veteran
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.
He Worked Hard All His Life
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.
A Small Flag
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.
Not Backing Down
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.
The Second Letter
Larry sniggered as he opened the second letter. What was it this time? But the smirk fell right off his face when he read what they had done.
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.
Taking Them To Court
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.
Changing The Rules
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.
Nightmare Homeowners Association
“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?
More Stress To Come
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.
Finally Moving On
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.