Flag fight: Delaware homeowner at odds with HOA over American flag display

Sunday, October 4, 2020
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A Delaware homeowner says he's being fined $50 a day for hanging his American flag.

MIDDLETOWN, Delaware (WPVI) -- A Middletown, Delaware homeowner says he's being fined $50 a day for hanging his American flag.

The three by five-foot flag standing at 13 feet in Richard Killingsworth's backyard in the Parkside development is now under some scrutiny that some fear is dividing the community.

"I really don't understand the controversy here," said neighbor Dennis Cini.

"A bunch of the residents in our community have a problem fighting this out in court," added resident Kelly Corbett.

You might be wondering: what is the big deal?

Killingsworth, who is also an Army veteran, said the Parkside Homeowner's Association has told him the flagpole is in violation of the neighborhood's guidelines.

"I take great pride in seeing that when I walk back door every day," Killingsworth said.

This is also not the first time he's gone toe-to-toe with HOA.

A bronze eagle in the backyard was also a point of contention years ago that ended with a win for Killingsworth.

"Why push an argument over a national symbol when it's in someone's private backyard that only adds to the community?" asked Killingsworth.

The flagpole fight has been costing him $50 a day in fines and he now risks have a lien put on the property.

However, his attorney, Ted Kittila says it's the HOA that could lose, and big if they don't back down.

"The state law could not be more clear with respect to his right to fly the national flag. It is under the requirement under state law," he said.

The law, in general, gives the okay for flags like Killingsworth's to be flown as long they don't exceed three by five feet and aren't flown more than 25 feet in the air.

However, Kittila said there's still push back.

"If it keeps being pushed further we're going to have to seek an injunction in court," he added.

As of now, the HOA has not responded to Action News' numerous attempts for comment.

Killingsworth said his goal isn't to divide or cost his community a penny. But he says if he doesn't take a stand, especially for a symbol that represents freedom, then what is it all for?

"The flag should not be divisive. The flag should bring unity and people together," said Killingsworth.