CRIVITZ - An American flag has been flying upside-down and causing somecontroversy. A Crivitz man raised the flag "union down," saying hewas in distress, because of a problem with the village.
Vito Congine bought a Crivitz building last fall, planning toturn it into a supper club. He says the village board welcomed theidea, and was planning on granting him a liquor license. But whenit came time to get the license, after Congine invested more than$180,000 into the building and renovations, the board said nociting the economy and other concerns.
"My wife and I are on the doorstep of bankruptcy," said Congine."We're in distress. And I told them you just put my building and myhome and my entire family in distress. I'm going to expressmyself."
Congine expressed himself by flying the flag upside down.
Right now there's no flag on Congine's property. He says someonevandalized the rope on the flagpole.
But he had been flying the flag union down. Before the Fourth ofJuly parade, which would go past Congine's property, the CrivitzPolice Department took matters into its own hands. The policedepartment says it received complaints about the flag, and tried tocontact Congine.
On the 4th, the police department took the flag down,returning it to Congine the next day.
"It's ridiculous. They violated my first amendment rights," saidCongine.
No one from the village of Crivitz would do an on-camerainterview because of the possibility of future legal action. Thevillage issued a statement saying on the advice of the districtattorney, the flag had to be taken down to prevent things fromgetting violent, and to protect Congine.
"Nobody ever even brought that forward to my attention," saidCongine.
For now, Congine's flag sits inside his vacant supper club, buthe he plans to fly the flag upside down again this weekend.
The American Civil Liberties Union is looking into taking legalaction against Crivitz. An ACLU official says taking the flagappears to be illegal.
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