The Ansell brothers are fighting back. Last month the Ross Township, Pennsylvania brothers who occupy a home and have let their Christmas display go to seed made news by being hauled before a local magistrate for the mess that is their home after several complaints from neighbors. After seeing their fine reduced from $3000 to $1250 by the local judge who indicated “that while there had been some compliance with his original order, there had not been enough” the brothers have vowed to turn back on the lights and bring back the crowds that once flocked to see the display.
Claiming that his neighbors and local officials objected to his lights and the traffic, Bill Ansell long ago ceased the displays, leaving the property strewn with decapitated choir boys, a urinating Santa, and plenty of what the neighbors call junk.
â€œYou have rusty lawn chairs on your property, a urinating Santa, a Virgin Mary with a knife through its head, those are the types of things weâ€™re talking about â€” and slanderous remarks about the ladies who live across the street,â€ noted Kenneth Fryncko, an attorney for some of the neighbors.
In early May, a district magistrate ordered that the offensive signs be removed, along with the now unused out-of-season display that violated Ross Township ordinances. The Ansells took down the signs but not the display.
When asked again if he would take down the display Ansell doubled down:
“No, Iâ€™m going to continue putting it up. Get ready for light up night.â€
The Ansell brothers will appeal this fine, saying they have a First Amendment constitutional right.
â€œFreedom of expression. You can put whatever kind of display up, right?â€ noted Bill Ansell.
Between this light fight and the very public debate over the Hyatt Extreme Christmas display in Florida the season is getting an early start in 2013.