A couple in The Villages said they are ready for a David vs. Goliath battle over the little white cross on display in their yard.
Wayne and Bonnie Anderson of the Village of Tamarind Grove said they thought it was an April Fool’s joke when a court summons was delivered to their door, indicating they are being sued.
“And not only a sad day, but a dangerous day. Right at the height of Villagers self-quarantining over the COVID-19 virus outbreak, The Villages officials are sending out servers to peoples’ doors. Are they infected? This poor medical judgment only compounds fear in the community, especially with the filing of a ridiculous, frivolous lawsuit. We’ve got a pandemic going on and The Villages is obsessed with ripping crosses out of our yards. This is insanity,” said Wayne Anderson.
He said the suit alleges that the display of the cross is a violation of their deed restriction. The Andersons counter that the deed restriction is contrary to Florida law, and federal law, which says “reasonable” displays of ornaments on homeowners’ private property is allowed and can’t be prohibited without just cause.
“There has to be a compelling reason to prevent the display of ornaments. The Villages has shown no legal reason for their deed ban of small-religious ornaments on people’s property,” Anderson said.
The suit also alleges the Andersons agreed to the deed restrictions when they moved here. They admit they signed the contract but “did not know” that the deed restriction in that contract was “against the law.”
Also, they claim the deed restriction is contrary to law.
“Allowing one homeowner to display ornaments while telling the next-door neighbors they cannot is called ‘selective enforcement’ and a form of discrimination. And this is also against the law. The courts have ruled it’s one law for everyone – not for a select few,” Wayne Anderson said.
The Andersons claim they have “tried and tried to work out this sad situation” with The Villages.
They said they face $4,800 in fines over their little white cross.
The attorneys for the American Center for Law & Justice sent The Villages two letters stating homeowners had the legal right to display a little, reasonable cross in their yard.
But, now the ACLJ has said, at this time, they are “unable” to help the Andersons in court.
“So, folks we are on our own,” Wayne Anderson said.
They said they are prepared to represent themselves in court.
“This fight will be like David vs. Goliath. And, we hope for the same outcome,” Wayne Anderson said.