Larry Murphree

Have you noticed how often the phrase, “it protects property values” is used to justify the most ridiculous behavior in homeowner associations? It is a one size fits all excuse or explanation for the bizarre, ludicrous, absurd, wacky and outrageous shenanigans by so called kommunity leaders. Over the years we have heard it all – unapproved garden hoses, too many rose bushes, a driveway that is three inches wider than approved, a pudgy pooch or a rogue bird feeder. The list is endless.

It will come as no surprise to you then that at The Tides Condominium at Sweetwater in Florida fully grown adults sat around one day and came up with “flowerpot rules”. When it comes to property values, you see, nothing is too insignificant for these selfless altruists who give so freely of their time and expertise to determine what you can put in your flowerpot. Kompliance with konformity in kondos is of utmost concern as you might have guessed, and violators are sought and penalized lest they devalue property.

Joining us On The Commons is Larry Murphree. Larry lives in Jacksonville, Florida where, by the largess of the kondo leaders, he is allowed to have a flowerpot but the tiny flag tucked in with his flowers is verboten. His flagrant disregard of the rules got him a letter from the kondo kommandos notifying him that there is an “unauthorized object” in his flowerpot. When Larry refused to remove the flag, passionately believing in his 1st Amendment rights as well as his right to have it there, he was fined $100 a day for protecting his rights. Florida law allows fines up to $1000 (bless their hearts) but through some very creative accounting, the kondo threatened to foreclose on Larry’s unit to collect $8000 they alleged he owed. Please join us to learn the details of this absurd situation, find out what the most recent law suit filed by the kondo sought and what the local realtors have to say about why buyers are not beating a path to this particular project’s gate. Also, check out Larry’s website at


6 thoughts on “Larry Murphree”

  1. I have expressed my views about this matter at

    so I won’t repeat them all here, except for this:

    It is depressing that while there has been much bickering in the comments sections on various web sites about whether Mr. Murphree’s dispaly of the flag is proper or not, no one is questioning why an H.O.A. corporation has the statutory right to take somebody’s home away, for any reason — much less the trivial ones they frequently do.

    It is utter insanity, and we Americans — including the advocates of private property rights — have been conditioned to accept this as legitimate and normal.

    The usual retort — by both the industry apologist and many home owner advocates — is that H.O.A. corporations cannot function without this draconian imbalance of power. They therefore must be accorded preferential status, as though they are Too Big To Fail ™. Maybe I’m crazy, but I do not find that an acceptable answer. If H.O.A. corporations cannot exist without the ability to take somebody’s home, then perhaps they shouldn’t exist. That reform activists can’t even bring themselves to draw that line in the sand is absolutely pathetic, and doesn’t portend much hope for their efforts.

    What the Soviet Union couldn’t do to us with its arsenal of tanks and atomic-armed rockets, we’re doing to ourselves with adhesion documents enforced as contracts, legal fictions of consent, rapacious lawyers, and unregulated private corporations using ruthlessly efficient capitalist means.

    She likens the experience to her father’s in East Germany, where the communist state took away property rights. “Now I’m 75, and the same thing is happening to me, in America,” she says.

    An Irony Curtain has descended across America’s neighborhoods. “Living in an H.O.A. means вы выезжаете из Американского сектора”.

    I was surprised (although I shouldn’t be) to learn, from listening to this episode, that Mr. Murphree is struggling to pay his legal bills, and is still concerned about losing his home due to those costs he incurred. While I’m sure that the folks from Lear Capital who appeased the extortionists by paying the $8,000 in fines and fees had their hearts in the right place, why did they not instead assist Mr. Murphree with his legal defense? “Peace with honour. Peace for our time” isn’t going to keep the beast satiated for long.

    Given that the Tides Condominium H.O.A. corporation publicly libeled Mr. Murphree as a delinquent and deadbeat, I think he has a very strong defamation case against them. But I know that will neither be easy nor inexpensive, so I won’t blame him if he doesn’t pursue that course.

    Finally, where were the people who expressed their outrage nine years ago, after the Supreme Court’s horrendous Kelo decision. Where were the protestors with their “Don’t Tread On Me” flags? Where were the militia groups that flocked to Nevada earlier this year to defend Cliven Bundy’s ranch from the federal government? Where were Mr. Murhpree’s elected representatives? When the Tides Condominium H.O.A. corporation was threatening to take Mr. Murphree’s home, they were all silent.

    And how many more victims are there whose names we’ll never know, because their stories did not result in the publicity this one did?

  2. This is what happens when we value material property over the human experience. Leaders become unreasonable, people must fight for basic freedoms, or acquiesce in order to avoid financial extortion and public defamation of character.
    No surprise when those darned property values plummet once buyers see community dysfunction in its finest hour.

  3. The question that needs to be asked is should ANY HOA have the power to regulate anyone???? Arguing over the separate attacks the HOA’s are doing is merely dividing and conquering us all!! Arguing over this man’s placement of his flag is a waste of time, period and totally missing the point, but arguing over the HOA’s power of regulating any being’s life IS THE POINT COMPLETELY!

    After listening to you Shu for years, I now question you being a shill for the system. You are way too intelligent a being not to have caught this in the first place. BTW, your show hasn’t been easy to listen to for quite some time now. Your archives cannot be downloaded and your show is no longer podcasted.

  4. Look at photos of European cities, places like Paris, London, Geneva and notice the old apartment buildings in the center of these beautiful old cities, buildings that are hundreds of years old – and yes, they are still standing and not leaking like a sieve. Many of these buildings are what we would call a condominium. Homeowners buy their units and own a percentage of the common areas, that in these cities typically consist of the structure itself. They do sometimes have a manager to “manage” the building, make sure the trash is removed, broken lightbulbs replaced, and if applicable, elevators serviced. The home OWNERS meet annually, discuss the state of affairs, decide if they want to make any major repairs or additions, approve the budget and instruct the manager on what they want done. At no time ever does the manager decide who may or may not vote, promulgate rules, spy on their clients (yes, the homeowners are their clients), fine them or threaten to foreclose if they don’t jump through hoops. This sort of behavior is unique to residential America.

    In other cultures it is the owners themselves who work together to maintain the property, meet on an as needed basis to discuss potential improvements/additions, decide whether or not to proceed, come up with a budget and oversee the work that is done. At no time are the owners TOLD by an employee (manager) what they are required to pay for – “or else”. Again, this is uniquely American and a concept that is so utterly foreign to the rest of the world.

    Homeowners have bought into the notion that HOAs protect their property values – they do no such thing. HOAs are there to give municipal governments free tax money, developers get to increase density, cut constructions costs and maximize their profits, local municipal governments get to collect free tax $$$, Federal, State and local governments get to distance themselves from their constituents because in effect they have created a monster they don’t know how to tame, the “HOA industry” get to further fleece the owners to the tune of $65 Billion a year. And the homeowners? Well, they seem to have accepted the canard that somehow HOAs were created to protect them and they property values. The ONLY thought ever given to the owners was just how much they could be taken for.

    And what “sane” adult would ever consent to sit down and seriously draft some of the rules we read about? I also have to wonder what self respecting homeowner/adult would consent to obey some of these idiotic rules?

    Everyone is always whining about needing laws and being protected. What is really needed is for the homeowners to refuse to allow themselves to be misled and abused in such an outrageous manner.

    Michelle, to answer your question, HOAs do not have any of these powers.

    Compare the price of a 200 square foot bedsit in Paris or London to a leaky 2000 square foot condo in the US – complete with more rules and regulations than a kindergarten class and then question the validity that rules and regulations, threats, unfettered power protect values.

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