CLE business owners face violations over flags

Posted at 9:40 PM, Feb 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-10 22:39:32-05

The owner of a Cleveland business believes she's been unfairly ticketed by the city for displaying the American flag.

The owner of Liberty Tax Service, Rachel Ruffing, has been issued three tickets totaling nearly $3000 in fines for violation of city ordinance section 350.04.

According to the inspector with Cleveland's Department of Building and Housing who issued the violations, the flags at the West 65th Street and Detroit Avenue were blocking the walkway, and the business owner did not have the proper permit.

Ruffing told this is the third year she had the flags posted outside, but this is the first year she's received violations for putting them up.

"Number one, it's the American flag, and everyone should be entitled to put up the America flag," said Ruffing. "Also there is no way the flags were blocking the sidewalk."

Liquid Planet Cafe on Clifton Boulevard was also issued a violation for displaying new vertical flags outside the eatery. reached out to Building and Housing Director Ron O'Leary in an effort to get a better explanation of the violations issued.

The violations were issued under city ordinance 350.04 which outlines the require permit for both temporary and permanent business signs.

The ordinance states:

"Where required, a permit for a temporary sign shall be issued for a period not exceeding six (6) months unless another display period is specified in Section 350.12 or in other applicable sections of the Codified Ordinances. Permits for real estate and development signs shall be issued for a period not exceeding one (1) year but may be renewed while construction or marketing is pursued diligently. Development signs shall be removed immediately upon placement of a permanent identification sign."

Both cases are now heading to housing court.