Florida man wanted to remind everyone that ‘this is America.’ So he painted a giant American flag on his house.


Someone complained about how his house looked, and Brent Greer got annoyed. Then, he got to painting. (Tiffany Tompkins-Condie /Bradenton Herald)

There are a lot of ways to fight government intrusion. One strategy involves using paint and brush.

Brent Greer of Bradenton, Fla., is the proud owner of a humble, two-story house where he and his wife raise seven adopted children and multiple foster kids. It’s the same American house he grew up in, according to the Bradenton Herald, the same American house his grandmother bought in the 1950s.

Earlier this year, a live Christmas tree fell over in his yard. According to the Herald, the city’s code enforcement agency asked Greer to remove the downed tree. He complied. But when a code enforcement officer came back to the house, things went sideways, according to the Herald:

It was during that visit that Greer said the situation became unacceptable.

“That’s when he told me, ‘We aren’t done,’ ” said Greer. “He said he had other issues. And keep in mind, this was said during the post-inspection for the tree. I asked what the issues were, and he said he forgot his list.”

Among the issues that were cited to Greer were that his house was not painted sufficiently to “city standards,” and that there were children’s toys in the yard.

Greer had had enough. So, he and his family started a patriotic painting project, slapping a few coats of red, white and blue on the home.

BRADENTON, FL - JUNE 3, 2014: Inspired by a visit from code enforcement officer after someone complained about how his house looked, Brent Greer and his wife and seven adopted children started a unique painting project. Greer, who was raised in the house which has been in his family since his grandmother bought it, feels that a person should be able to have their home look any way they like. (Photo by Tiffany Tompkins-Condie / Bradenton Herald) **ONE TIME USGE ONLY, MANDATORY CREDIT*
Brent Greer in front of his freshly painted house. (Tiffany Tompkins-Condi/Bradenton Herald)

“I told the code enforcement officer that the Constitution gives me rights, and he told me that the city’s laws trump the Constitution,” Greer told the Herald. “I said, ‘Well, no, it doesn’t.’ This is America and what rules America is the Constitution.”

There were other issues, according to city code officials quoted by the Herald: Mold, mildew, bare wood showing, peeled and chipped paint, accumulated trash, exposed wires, a decaying balcony railing.

Greer will appear in front of the code enforcement board on June 17 to find out whether his patriotic paint job was enough to appease the city.

“My seven kids are far more a priority than what the city thinks the standard of my house is,” he told the newspaper.

In the meantime, he has the support of his neighbors, who have their own qualms about the city’s code enforcement.

“It’s his house, and he should be able to do what he wants with it,” neighbor Cindy Cook  told the Herald. “They didn’t like where we parked the boat. If someone had a problem with the Christmas tree he had out, all they had to do was go talk to him and he would have gladly picked it up. It’s just easier to talk to your neighbors.”


(Tiffany Tompkins-Condie/Bradenton Herald)

(Tiffany Tompkins-Condie/Bradenton Herald)

(Tiffany Tompkins-Condie/Bradenton Herald)
Abby Phillip is a general assignment national reporter for the Washington Post. She can be reached at abby.phillip@washpost.com or (202) 334-9172. On Twitter: @abbydphillip

 

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