A confrontation over a political sign and a community's Home Owners Association has occupied four years and nearly half a million dollars in legal fees.
The battle between Sam and Maria Farran and the Olde Belhaven community's HOA ensnarled the quiet Alexandria, Virginia enclave after the Farran's put a sign supporting President Obama in 2008.
However, the confrontation that ensued would rip a community apart and ruin the HOA financially.
Reports from northern Virginia revealed that soon after an "Obama for President" was put in the Farran's yard a few residents in the community filed a complaint over the size of the sign in question.
The sign turned out to be four inches taller than what the HOA's covenant permitted and led to one resident voicing his concern of such a development.
"Need I say more! This would lead to chaos. Our property values would be put at risk," an anonymous HOA member emailed to The Washington Post.
After the complaint, the HOA sent the Farrans notification that their sign would not be permitted due to the conflict in dimensions and that they would have to take the sign down. So in order to comply with regulations, the Farrans simply cut the sign in half.
Unfortunately, the HOA did not find the action to be appropriate and decided to levy a $900 for the yard sign, setting off an epic legal battle.
The Farrans soon after decided to submit requests for a new roof and deck, but those requests were denied, leading to the couple to pursue legal options, which included filing suit against the HOA.
"It's like we weren't living in America. You are always one board election away from a tyranny. They wield enormous power," Maria Farran told The Washington Post.
Four years and $400,000 in HOA legal fees later, the Farrans won their case and were awarded $100,000 to cover their legal fees. However, the HOA decided to file for bankruptcy after numerous attempts to sell a common ground space to a developer to raise cash, but all those proposals fell through.
As a result, the Farrans have yet to see their awarded settlement as Olde Belhaven tries to recover from financial ruin.