Santee mayor may step in over flag flap

Apartment manager receiving death threats

SANTEE, Calif. - A property management company accused of trying to evict a local man who displayed an American flag in his apartment window says they are getting death threats. Meanwhile, Santee's mayor is vowing to step in if the renter's lease is not renewed.

Steve Roberts, the son of a veteran, showed 10News on Monday the flag he proudly hangs inside his window. He says it is a flag the new apartment management company, FDC Management Group, objected to.

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

Roberts' lease has not been renewed, and he is now on a month-to-month lease.

After 10News' story aired Monday, websites like the Drudge Report picked the story up. Angry comments poured in. One person called the management company "garbage."

A representative for the company told 10News the apartment manager has 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."

When it comes to the flag, the company says, "We have no policy against flags. We would never terminate a lease over the ownership of the flag."

They did tell 10News the lease does ban tenants from using their own window coverings. Roberts says the flag is not a window covering.  

"My American flag is not covering a window. It's behind the window. If I shut the blinds, the flag can't be seen," he said.

On Wednesday, 10News received an email from Santee Mayor Randy Voepel, which reads in part,

"To my mind, if the American Flag is being properly displayed inside a private residence (even though it may be seen from the outside) it is legal and allowed.

Whatever Management Company is trying to enforce this stupid policy, will run afoul of me (The Mayor) and hopefully a majority of the City Council."

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