Marion Co. woman decorates for Christmas, city citation follows

The City of Lebanon has cited a woman for defacement of property for her decorations.

City of Lebanon issues citation for woman's Christmas decorations

LEBANON, KY (WAVE) - The day a Christmas decal went up on Deanna Rupa’s home, she said the City of Lebanon fined her. It is not the first time decorations on the home have become an issue.

Previously, Rupa’s landlord faced fines for murals she and another artist drew on her home. The city said the paintings, which included African American leaders and pop culture icons like Dolly Parton, Rosa Parks, and Muhammad Ali, defaced the property.

The City of Lebanon made Rupa paint over the murals on her home, calling it 'graffiti.'
The City of Lebanon made Rupa paint over the murals on her home, calling it 'graffiti.' (WAVE 3 News)

Rupa said she gave in to the city and paid the fine, painting over the murals on the home and on her shed. That was in October, according to Rupa.

“It was very hard to take the murals down,” Rupa said.

Her Christmas decorations are more subtle than the murals that covered her home before.

Dated “11/06/18," Rupa showed a receipt for an adhesive and removable “NOEL” decal that she bought and placed on her home the same day.

“I never in a million years thought I would get a citation for putting a sticker on my house,” Rupa said.

On November 7, Rupa’s landlord received a $500 citation. WAVE 3 News contacted the landlord, who declined to comment.

“The city inspector said to me, ‘Nothing is allowed on your home,’” Rupa said. “He said, ‘If we allow you to put a sticker on your house, that sets a precedent that you and anyone else can put items on their home that we don’t approve of.’”

An attorney representing the City of Lebanon said the citation is in regard to the original murals.

The city claims the property owner hasn’t gotten rid of what they refer to as ‘graffiti’ on the property.

“If you are going to silence someone through art, what is next,” Rupa asked.

Lebanon’s Property Maintenance Code Board will meet on November 20.

The condition of Rupa’s home and stickers or decals on structures are on the agenda. Currently, those items are not addressed in the city’s ordinance.

“It’s a sticker,” Rupa said. “It’s just a Christmas decoration. This is not ‘O Holy Night’-- this has become ‘O Bully’ night."

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