Lawyer seeks documents in Westchase sign feud

Published March 16, 2006

TAMPA - Lawyer Luke Lirot, battling for an Army wife's right to keep her "Support Our Troops" sign in her yard, wants the Westchase Community Association to turn over any written documents relating to sign displays in the past five years.

"I want to see how consistent they've been, how fair they've been," Lirot said.

His client, 24-year-old Stacey Kelley, has been accused by the association of violating deed restrictions. Kelley's husband, David, is serving in Iraq.

Lirot, a First Amendment lawyer known for representing area strip clubs, sent a letter to association president Daryl Manning on Wednesday stating Kelley's case and calling the board's actions "unpatriotic."

The letter points to a section of the deed restrictions that allows the board discretion over yard signs. Lirot said that if seasonal displays and birth announcements are allowed, Kelley's sign should be no different.

Manning, who said he had not seen the letter Wednesday evening, agreed that the board has control over signs, but he is concerned about future implications if Kelley's sign stays.

"We want to be sure that we execute that discretion wisely," Manning said. "We want to look to the future before we make any changes."

Lirot, in his letter, asked for copies of any complaints, requests or minutes of meetings relating to sign displays in Westchase, along with details of conditions, sanctions or fines imposed.

Stephanie Hayes can be reached at 813 269-5303 or shayes@sptimes.com