A South Florida man is fuming after he
says his condo association gave him a violation notice for
signs and flags on his car in support of Ukraine.
"At first I was
confused and then I was angry," said Ed Cobin, of North
Miami Beach. "I didn't think I was offending anybody."
Cobin said he placed decals and flags on his car shortly
after Ukraine was invaded by Russia. One large decal reads
"Putin = Hitler."
A short time later, he said he received the violation
notice, which said he can't show any sign, advertisement or
notice of any type on common elements, which are parts of a
complex that belong to all owners.
Cobin said his car is not a common
element and it's not an ad. He believes his First Amendment
rights are being violated.
"This isn’t a
commercial sign, I thought from freedom speech that I have
the right to speak about these things," he said. "There’s
not much I can do. But I’m trying to do something."
Part of the reason Cobin decorated his car was to support
his neighbor, Irina Korinenko, who moved to the U.S. from
Ukraine with her husband nearly 10 years ago.
Korinenko said she still has family and friends in Ukraine.
"Every day starts with text messages, phone calls. Are you
alive? Where are you?" she said.
Korinenko said the violation notice was unnecessary, and
she's grateful for Cobin's support.
"I appreciate my neighbor's support, it’s very important,"
she said. "A few days ago I took a picture and sent it to my
friends and they all in two seconds answered thank you!"
The condo association hasn't commented on the issue.
Cobin said he's served on the condo board for years and even
served as president and is well-versed in the rules he needs
“Mr. Cobin has not violated any rules or prohibitions of the
condo association," his attorney said in a statement.
"Politically oriented language appearing on a car parked
within the condominium is not an illicit 'advertisement' as
the association contends in its Notice."