In mid-June, Vito Congine, 46, an Iraq war veteran, began flying the flag upside down – an accepted way to signal distress – outside the restaurant he wants to open in Crivitz, a village of about 1,000 people some 65 miles north of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
He said his distress is likely bankruptcy because the village board refused to grant him a liquor license after he spent nearly $200,000 to buy and remodel a downtown building for an Italian supper club.
Congine’s upside-down-flag represents distress to him.
Here’s the rub: Hours before a Fourth of July parade, four police officers went to Congine’s property and removed the flag under the advice of Marinette County District Attorney Allen Brey.
Neighbor Steven Klein watched in disbelief.
“I said, ‘What are you doing?’ They said, ‘It is none of your business.'”