OAK CREEK — Bieck Management officials on Monday, April 1 announced a five-day notice issued to a gay couple living in Oak Creek was rescinded, and they will be allowed to keep their gay pride flag. This, after FOX6 News shared their story on Thursday, March 28.
Officials said “no further action will be taken” regarding the flag outside Kevin Kollmann and Merle Malterer’s home at the Country Oaks Apartments, and their delinquent rent balance as of March 31 was forgiven.
Additionally, Bieck Management leaders said they would discuss a new flag policy moving forward that will allow flags to be flown if they meet certain guidelines, such as size, placement, location etc. Kollmann and Malterer were invited to share their input on this policy, and “no matter the final policy, we will make every effort to grandfather your present flag in its current location.”
Kollmann and Malterer told FOX6 News they felt they were being unfairly targeted, facing threats of eviction due to their flag that they were told they had five days to remove, with the landlord indicating they were violating their lease.
“This is a place we live. It’s our home,” said Kollmann. “This is who I am. This is who we are.”
They’ve lived at the Country Oaks Apartments for the past six years.
They’ve always decorated outside, but on March 28, they said it had become a problem.
“Personally, I feel like we’re being kind of singled out here because it’s what it is,” said Kollmann.
They said on March 27, they received a note saying they breached their lease, and had five days to take down their gay pride American flag.
“It’s a symbol of America,” Kollmann said. “It’s a symbol of our pride in America, being a gay couple here in Oak Creek.”
When FOX6 News reached out to the property owner on March 28, he said the couple was asked to take down a Green Bay Packers flag in January, and this was not a discrimination issue, but an issue with the appearance of the property. He said no one was allowed to have flags anywhere and it was against the lease agreement.
Around the property, FOX6 News located several flags, including those outside Ken Miller’s place.
“I’ve never been told to take them down. I’ve been here for three years and I’ve had these flags up for at least two years, and I’ve never had any issues with the flags,” said Miller.
Kollmann and Malterer weren’t planning on backing down. As the property owner indicated he would be willing to sit down with them to work something out, they said they were looking into potential legal action.