HOA apologizes after threatening to sue pastor recovering from brain surgery over wheelchair ramp

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez |

(Michael D Broadnax St. Facebook)Michael Broadnax suffered a severe stroke last summer which led him to need wheelchair access to his home. In this photo dated September 2014, the pastor is shown recovering in his hospital bed, prior to being released for home rehab pending the family build a wheelchair ramp to accommodate him.

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (Christian Examiner) -- A Tennessee homeowner's association reversed its position and apologized to a pastor recovering from brain surgery this week after they first threatened to remove a wheelchair ramp his wife installed as a condition of his rehabilitation.

Local news station, WSMV reported Monday the association wished to sue Michael Broadnax and his family for a wheelchair ramp installed at the pastor's residence seven months ago after he suffered a severe stroke.

However, the HOA reversed its position and apologized to the family Thursday, following the news report and multiple phone calls by Charlotte Broadnax, Michael's wife, trying to resolve the situation with the HOA and its management company.

According to WSMV, a letter of apology from the Woodlands at Copperstone Homeowners Association and its attorney, Alvin Harris was hand-delivered to Charlotte stating the initial letter threatening a lawsuit was a mistake.

"Please accept the apologies from my previous letter, which should not have been sent," Charlotte, said the letter read. "It was not approved by all board members of the association and did not contain all the information that the board had previously discussed."

The letter reportedly explained that the HOA had merely intended to notify the family that the ramp required a permit from the city as well as approval from the homeowners association's architectural review committee.

Pastor Michael initially required a ramp to accommodate his use of a wheelchair after suffering a stroke last summer. Charlotte told WSMV at that time, she was told her husband could be released for outpatient rehabilitation, but the family had to install a wheel chair ramp first.

Charlotte said she quickly had the ramp built near their home's entrance by a licensed contractor. The ramp had been in use for months before the HOA declared it a violation

HOA manager Elecia Lewis, indicated issue with the ramp arose due to the numerous guests that visited the Broadnax family on Sundays. Lewis did not however explain why an HOA representative did not seek to learn the intended purpose of the ramp prior to sending the harsh, threatening letter.

The letter Charlotte Broadnax shared with the news outlet gave her 14 days to remove the ramp or face the consequences, which could include having it removed and then being charged for its removed.

Meanwhile her husband was just released from intensive care this week after his one of many brain surgeries following the stroke.

Throughout the ordeal, the Broadnax's community rallied in support behind the family. "I've had several people come to my door in support," Charlotte Broadnax said.

In addition, Beverly Watts, director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission got involved to assist the family in making sure its rights are protected under Tennessee Fair Housing, the Americans with Disabililties Act, and the Federal Housing Act.

The pastor's wife stated she would be filing for the necessary permit and approval. Though the HOA initially required action be taken within two weeks, the deadline period was lifted.

Still, her main concern is caring for her well-loved husband.

"My focus is on [going] from the hospital to rehab and from rehab back home," she said.