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Solvang’s Sad Flag Day!

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Today is Flag Day, but Solvang’s Jewel is missing its flags!

By Solvang Journal Staff

This Sunday is Flag Day and many towns around the nation are showing their true colors, including Solvang.

Solvang is a town of many flags – especially visible are the American and Danish flags flying together beside each other. The symbol of these two friendly nations together in the sky are like crowns for this beautiful Danish town in California.

At least two flags can be seen in front of every commercial building or business. Everyone proudly flies both U.S. and Danish flags year-round, regardless of whether its July 4th or a memorial day or like today, flag day.

Gifts shops, restaurants, bakeries, wine tasting rooms, hotels – every business proudly fly these flags.

The Fredricks Court building on 485 Alisal Road is the jewel of Solvang’s traditional Danish architecture, however since ownership changed, the new landlord Terry Harmon let the frontage flags fall apart until they fell down and never replaced them. This is a shameful disregard of Solvang’s tradition, as well as national pride. 

Falling part US flags never replaced
Flag pools holes are still empty
This is how it used to look at the frontage of Fredrick’s Court Building

Finally, one of Frederick’s Court tenants – Esko Esko –  in opposition to the landlord, decorated the front of the building with beautiful plants and U.S. and Danish flags. The building turned out to be like the queen of Solvang, with a crown with golden leaves. It became one of Solvang’s tourist landmarks for visitors and even newlywed married couples have taken pictures with the beautiful flags. 

 For some reason, Terry Harmon – the new landlord of  Frederick’s Court – hates seeing those flower pots and especially flags flying in front of her building. Even she appealed to the city council not to be given any permit to her tenant for the displaying the flower pots and flags. They are neither attached to her building nor placed on her property. But whenever she comes and sees the flags she starts ripping them off from legally and city permitted flower pots placed on the city sidewalk.

Sadly Terry Harmon did this again just the day after Memorial day at 10 am Morning. Since then Solvang’s jewel Fredrick’s Court frontage is without any flag.
This is how it looks at Fredrick’s Court Building frontage now because landlord Terry Harmon removed all US and Danish flags.

Fredrick’s Court frontage, once the jewel of Solvang, now looks like a queen stripped of her crown – so dry and empty and meaningless without its flags. since Memorial Day weekend 2020.

Please watch our video how solvang celebrated Flag Day

Solvang Fredrick’s court Building frontage

Fredrick’s Court Building Owner “Teri Fredericks Harmon

Fredrick’s Court building current owner posted a comment at Solvang Journal’s Facebook page and we are publishing her comment as her statement without any editing.

Teri Fredericks Harmon “As the landlord, I can tell you – Esko had 10 flags up for the sole purpose of trying to attract business (not being patriotic) despite the city ordinance against the excess. I removed 8 of them and left 2 up – this was 3 weeks ago – not yesterday! I asked the shop keeper to remove the 8 but she said she couldn’t – so I offered to help her despite my arm in a sling from recent shoulder surgery. The claim and photo of the torn flags were from 3+ years ago before I was the owner and back then were immediately taken down. Esko is an overgrown bully that thinks he owns the town due to his”relationship” with the city council can lie about anything that doesn’t serve his interests. This is easily proven by walking into the courtyard of Fredricks Court to view the over 20 flags from multiple countries flying high – 6 are the US and in good shape thanks to a local veteran!! Anyone that knows me – knows my involvement with Scouting and promoting patriotic duties that also included for many years putting flags on the veterans grave-sites at Ballard cemetery each Memorial Day weekend. People, you are being played by someone who has not paid rent in months and is a problem for the nice citizens of Solvang. I had put this message up earlier but he took it down. So much for the truth! Peace.”

We asked Terry Harmon’s tenant Esko Esko to comment about his landlord and her accusations and her explanations about his flags removal.

Esko Esko said,” I would like to answer one by one all her accusations so people can judge better!

Here is Teri Harmon’s accusations and Esko Esko’s answer for her accusations.    

Teri Fredericks Harmon: “As the landlord, I can tell you – Esko had 10 flags up for the sole purpose of trying to attract business (not being patriotic) despite the city ordinance against the excess.

Esko Esko : ”First of all there are no restrictions on flags during Memorial Day, July 4th or Flag Day holidays as long as no public safety and security concern.

Secondly, according to the City, my flower pots and flags are located on a public sidewalk, sidewalks are subject to the city law, not landlord rules, so my flower pots and flags are not on part of her property. As such, she has no right to interfere with nor touch them.

Finally, I do have an official encroachment permit from the city the right to place the pots and flags on the sidewalk. This is a  tourist town, so of course, flags are not solely flown for patriotic reasons even – I fly also Danish Flags (I’m Turkish/ Montenegro origin) not of Danish origin so it’s certainly not for patriotism. However, I don’t fly any Turkish nor Montenegro flags but not only U.S flags but also Danish Flags because I respect very much of the Danish heritage of this town, and thus want to keep the tradition and create a festive atmosphere for our visitors”. That’s why also I fly California, Mexican, and Filipino flags in front of my stores with respect to our major visitors.

Teri Fredericks Harmon:” I removed 8 of them and left 2 up – this was 3 weeks ago – not yesterday!”

Esko Esko :
“Again, she is not even supposed to touch any of them! Its none of her business my flags that flying over the sidewalk!  Yes, she removed them three weeks ago at 10 am on May 26th, but just a day after Memorial Day! We won’t replace them until she is shamed and noticed by the public. We want to make the public aware of her unlawful and disrespectful actions toward the U.S and Danish flags.”

Teri Fredericks Harmon:
”I asked the shop keeper to remove the 8 but she said she couldn’t – so I offered to help her despite my arm in a sling from recent shoulder surgery.”

Esko Esko :
”She did not ask but ordered to my employees and who does she think she is, ordering our employees to remove our flags, which are displayed in flower pots that are legally permitted by the city? What is her authority here, and what legal right does she have for her actions? She may own the building, but not the public sidewalk. Our flower pots and flags are not attached to her building nor on her property; they are on public property and displayed in areas permitted by the city. Additionally, during COVID-19 the city lifted all signage regulations to help businesses to get better attention access from the customers, so our flowerpots and flags are still in compliance with city ordinances.

God forbids, wee did not ask her help and why we would ask her help? We don’t want the flags to be removed. Even with her arm in a sling – as can be seen from video – she insisted on trying to remove the flags on her own and was happy when she finally removed the U.S. flag from our permitted flower pots.

Teri Fredericks Harmon:
“The claim and photo of the torn flags were from 3+ years ago before I was the owner and back then were immediately taken down.

Esko Esko :
“It’s true that flags were placed there before her ownership, since the day the building was first open to the public. However, the flags did fall down during her ownership and were never replaced. The front of the building is still without flags and as today the flag poles are still empty.

Teri Fredericks Harmon:
Esko is an overgrown bully that thinks he owns the town due to his”relationship” with the city council can lie about anything that doesn’t serve his interests.

Esko Esko :
“I feel it’s quite the opposite: since she owns the building, she thinks she also owns our businesses and the adjacent public sidewalks. All of her tenants have had issues resulting from her abusive interference. She comes around and gives orders to the employees forbidding even Christmas decorations, while forcibly removing other tenants’ decorations and even asking them to change their business names. Other tenants and locals who know me also know her too. She does not respect her tenants and she thinks it’s acceptable to order their employees around. She does not even respect health department regulations, as shown by her entering our store without a mask; this is a requirement for everyone.

When she found out that I applied for the encroachment permit for our flower pots and flags, she and her friends made a shocking appeal to the city council asking them to decline my application. However, Solvang is a town of flower pots and flags. The city won’t forbid that…And Thank God they did not and in the opposite, they encourage everyone to place beautiful flowerpots.

I’m the only one in town who was asked to get an official permit from the City in order to have the legal flower pots and flags in front of the store
I had to pay nearly $700.00 for it! And yet, I have to take care of my own flowers, unlike some other stores’ flowerpots that have been cared for by the city at the cost of taxpayers for many years. I have another location on Copenhagen Drive: 1642 bazaar Europa. There too, I fly flags and I have flowerpots, but my other landlord has never made an issue of it.

I’ll let the public judge if there is any favoritism toward me regarding my flowerpots and flags. The previous administration bullied, abused, and punished me, attempting to drive me out of business. The current administration is also trying to make an example out of me for the entire town too. I don’t think anyone else is applied for permits to display flower pots and flags in front of their stores! So where is favoritism?

Teri Fredericks Harmon:
This is easily proven by walking into the courtyard of Fredricks Court to view the over 20 flags from multiple countries flying high – 6 are US and in good shape thanks to a local veteran!!

Esko Esko :
“Yes, there are many international and US flags, however, they are located at the back of the building, and are unable to be seen from the front. I wish she flyes them at the front of the building, too!”And what’s wrong if I fly them in front of my store at City sidewalk? Why it bothers her?

Teri Fredericks Harmon:
Anyone that knows me – knows my involvement with Scouting and promoting patriotic duties that also included for many years putting flags on the veterans’ gravesites at Ballard cemetery each Memorial Day weekend. People, you are being played by someone who has not paid rent in months and is a problem for the nice citizens of Solvang. I had put this message up earlier but he took it down. So much for the truth! Peace.

Esko Esko :
“We are talking about the Fredricks Court Building, not her social life nor Ballard Cemetery…

It’s true that I am not currently paying rent, because I am like many of the other Solvang’s small businesses and those across the nation who have suffered due to COVID-19 and the stay at home orders. As such I am utilizing the City of Solvang’s Temporary Tenant Moratorium Ordinance on unpaid rents since our business was closed until recently (Memorial Day weekend). Like many other businesses, I am exercising my legal right to defer my rent payments until August, and will then work on paying the deferred rents over the following 6 months. Prior to the pandemic, I never missed a rent payment. If it wasn’t for the City’s actions, half of the stores would have shuttered by now.

Some landlords in Solvang like my other location’s landlord have gone above and beyond, being totally understanding, and a few have even offered free rent or didn’t request rent from their tenants. Still, others are giving a 50% discount on rent in an effort to lend a helping hand during such a critical time. Others have also offered very long extensions on payment options. We are very appreciative and thankful and would like to say God Bless to those good-hearted landlords who are indeed helping and are understanding and supportive of their tenants during such a difficult crisis!

Unfortunately, only a few greedy landlords like Terry Harmon are still acting as though nothing happened; pretending the City’s Emergency Tenant Rent Moratorium Ordinance does not exist it all! They still keep bothering, insisting, pushing, forcing, and even threatening to get payment for rents from tenants. Basically, they are forcing for immediate rent payment and continually call and send emails stating: “Pay it now or if you can’t pay it then leave”, instead of help but offering an exit from long-standing leases. They refuse to accept our payment plan within existing moratorium terms.

However, according to the City’s Emergency Tenant Moratorium Ordinance, deferred rent starts to be paid once an emergency term expires which is the end of July and then must be paid within 6 months which is the end of January 2021. Additionally, the federal government is offering an extension on deferral mortgages, and there’s also a foreclosure moratorium and 30 years term fix low-interest loan available for the landlords too.

It seems like Terry Harmon for some reason hates to see flags in front of her building. She’s doing everything possible to intimidate me, such as forbidding me from displaying flowerpots and flags, even dog water bowls. However, I have an 8 years lease. If she wants me to move out then she must buy me out, or respect me otherwise

I will continue to shame her publicly and use all my legal rights to prevent her unlawful and disrespectful acts. I will resist and I will always appeal to the public and to legal authorities for damaging my personal property and disturbing my business and entering my business without our permission. She must respect tenants and the law which is above her own rules ”