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BRADENTON, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – Angered by what he called overzealous city code enforcers, a Bradenton man has repainted his house to look like an American flag.

“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,” military veteran Brent Greer told WWSB-TV.

Greer says he was tired of being cited for various violations, which he says included having children’s toys in his yard, a broken window, and peeling paint.

“It makes me extremely angry,” he told WWSB. “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.”

WWSB reports a local realtor originally filed a complaint with the city because the Greer had a live Christmas tree in his yard. While investigating that complaint, city officials said they found more 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,” said Volker Reiss, Community and Code Enforcement Manager for Bradenton.

Reiss said there was mildew on the outside of the house which needed to be corrected by the homeowner.

“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,” he added.

Greer admits that his home does need work but says the violations are cosmetic issues that should be corrected when it’s convenient for him, not the city.

“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,” he told WWSB. “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.”

For now, the freshly painted red, white and blue house stands as his symbol of defiance.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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