Santee man, apartment management settle dispute over display of American flag

SAN DIEGO - A Santee man who was initially told he could not display an American flag in his apartment window will now be allowed to do so, 10News learned.

Earlier this week, Steve Roberts told 10News that FDC Management Group -- who manages The Oaks apartments where he lives -- had informed him that he was not allowed to display the flag.

"The district manager told the manager to tell me, 'If I take down the American flag, they'll consider renewing my lease.' I flat-out told her she's anti-American, discriminatory and prejudiced," Roberts told 10News on Monday.

After 10News' story aired Monday, websites like the Drudge Report picked the story up. Angry comments poured in, and a representative for FDC told 10News the apartment manager received "horrific calls and e-mails, with threats like, 'I know what apartment you live in and you're going to pay.' Employee names and addresses have been published online. The apartment manager is now afraid to stay in her own home."

Additionally, Santee Mayor Randy Voepel said Wednesday that he would step in on Roberts' behalf.

James Wohrman, president of FDC Management, Inc., issued this statement on Thursday:

With regard to the news story recently presented by Channel 10, ABC News, San Diego.

Mr. Steve Roberts and The Oaks Apartments of Santee, California, are pleased to mutually announce that Mr. Roberts has signed a new lease and that he will continue to display his American flag.

FDC Management deeply regrets that our communications regarding window coverings led to misunderstanding about flag display. FDC Management and The Oaks Apartments have always allowed appropriate display of the United States flag. Our residents and employees often display American flags, especially around national holidays, and many of our communities proudly fly full-size flags year around.

Mr. Roberts wishes to clarify that he was never threatened with eviction, appreciates the support he has received, and is pleased that the matter is resolved.

Interested parties are recommended to read Mr. Roberts' full letter to Channel 10News.

Below is Roberts' letter to 10News:

First off, I would like to say that I am shocked and surprised at the massive response from my personal fight to display/fly the American Flag inside my own home. I did not think this would be more than a blip on the local media. Instead, it has blown up to the national level. Perhaps I have given up any hope too soon, my own personal folly of Americans ceasing to being Americans.

With that being said … I must say I am thoroughly disappointed that a number of Americans in this country taking this up as a rally cry to attack FDC Management. This is MY dispute with FDC Management. All I wanted was to get some dialogue going that I was unable to get on my own. I had mentioned when talking to 10News several things regarding what was going on. However, medias, particularly news stations, have a limited amount of time and have to cut and paste to fill the allotted time frame given.

At no time was I ever threatened to be evicted for continuing to display/fly the American Flag. I merely stated to the media that I suspect that for my actions of bringing this to the attention of the media that I would suffer serious consequences, but I must stand up for what's right and for myself, because no one else will.

I said in the report that was aired on Monday, July 7th 2014, that the American Flag means to me "Freedom, America..." however there was more that was not aired. I also stated "...Independence, fighting for what's right (honor, duty and dignity apply as well. However, not being military myself I doubt I can nor have the right to say such).

If you disagree with my fight, than disagree. If you agree with my fight than agree, support my fight, protest and such. However, for those of you that agree with me, let me ask you something. How does "Independence, fighting for what's right, honor, duty and dignity" justify the actions of threatening those who disagree with you? How does bringing harm, harassment, vandalism and vigilant justice fit into this? It doesn't. All that has been done with such actions is bring a black eye to the issue at hand. All that has been done is instill fear into those who live in the various buildings managed by the FDC Management Group. You think a single parent with kids is to blame? Are they justified in being terrorized? You who have taken such extreme actions should be ashamed of yourselves. This is completely uncalled for and most certainly unnecessary. I believe an apology is warranted from those who have threatened violence against those in the various buildings, apartments, residents and the FDC Management Group themselves for their abhorred actions. This is America. Are we not free to disagree? Are we not civilized? In America, our First Amendment rights give us the right to disagree and to start a civilized conversation to resolve disagreements without resorting to fear and violence. Here is an idea. If you do not like the American Flag being banned or potentially banned from being displayed/flown anywhere than take action through your Congressmen and women. Contact your Senator(s). Start a petition. Fly the American Flag yourself.

You should not, however, under any reasonable circumstances threaten violence, commit violence, commit vandalism, harass others in your disagreement. You should and must stop such actions altogether.
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