BRADENTON, Fla. -- A Bradenton home is causing quite a stir after a former military vet painted his home like an American flag to make a point to city officials.
Brent Greer, the owner of the house, says his freedom is being infringed upon by code enforcement, and he wants to send them a very clear message.
"We painted it to remind the city that this is still America, and that others people’s freedom of expression doesn't trump my freedom of expression."
Greer says he got the idea to paint his home after code enforcement cited him for various violations, which he says included having children’s toys in his yard, a broken window, and his home needing a fresh coat of paint. "It makes me extremely angry. You're coming to my property and telling me my appearance to my house, no safety issues or whatever, strictly cosmetic, doesn't meet the standard of some other elitist in this town, and I need to fix it…well that's crazy; this is America."
ABC 7 was told that a local realtor originally filed the complaint with the city because the Greers had a live Christmas tree in their yard. And while code enforcement investigated the tree, they found the other violations.
"We have housing standards in the city of Bradenton for the exterior and interior of homes. If we go somewhere and find violations, then we fine them. That's what we do as code enforcement," said Volker Reiss, Bradenton's Community and Code Enforcement Manager.
And despite being in a non-deed restricted area, code enforcement says the mildew visible on the siding is a violation that isn't acceptable. "The City of Bradenton is not the only jurisdiction in America who has rules. Wherever you are in America, you have to follow some rules," added Reiss,
But Greer says those rules are selectively enforced. And while he admits his home does need work, he says the violations are minor cosmetic issues that should be corrected on his own timeline, not the city's. "My kids come first, so by the time I get around to painting the soffit or something, it’s way down on the list; it's just not a priority. And eventually I'll get around to it. Sure, there's a lot of things I would like to do with this house, but life happens; we get another foster kid or something."