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 bhis 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 to follow.
“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.”