A Villager fighting to keep his little white cross is hoping for a final resolution this summer in his case against The Villages government.
Wayne Anderson of the Village of Tamarind Grove said it’s been nearly three years since Community Development District 8 served he and his wife with the notice of a lawsuit in an effort to force them to remove a little white cross from their yard. An anonymous complaint set in motion a battle to force the Andersons to remove the “lawn ornament” from their yard.
“It was April 1 when they knocked on my door. I thought it was an April Fool’s joke. No joke. With their lawsuit delivered in person, The Villages essentially said get in line with what we tell you or suffer the consequences,” Anderson said. “And for three subsequent years the corporate honchos running ‘Florida’s Friendliest Hometown’ have tried everything they can to deny us from having our day in court, which is simply to tell our side of this religious-freedom case.”
Jude Jason J. Nimeth of the Fifth Judicial Circuit Court earlier this month issued a six-page order denying a motion brought by The Villages to have Anderson’s claims dismissed.
“Thus, our good case can proceed with a trial tentatively set for Aug. 1,” Anderson said.
He said his attorneys at Arago Law strongly argued over and over for the right to display the cross under the Florida Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the religious-liberty clause of the Florida State Constitution.
“Remember, The Villages is a governmental entity under Section 190 of the Florida State Statutes. And as such, the government must refrain from infringing upon the legitimate religious freedoms of its citizens,” Anderson said. “We have a great case. So, it’s no wonder The Villages does not want it heard in open court.”
He added that residents’ homeowner fees are being used to pay for CDD 8’s legal battle.
“This lawsuit is sad, ridiculous, and expensive. The Villages’ costs to wage this war are staggering. And those efforts have proven quite costly to Villagers at large,” he said.