Legal threat could shut down dazzling Auburn Hills holiday light show, hurting charity

No one is a bigger fan of the annual dancing light show in Auburn Hills than the people at The Rainbow Connection charity. 
That's because each year donations gathered at the light show are enough to make two wishes come true.  

Take a good look - because you might not see this particular show again. 

"I definitely think there are a lot of people out there that will miss this show if we don't do it," said homeowner Brent Waldrep.

For 10 years the Waldrep house at the end of Paramount Lane in Auburn Hills has put on a dazzling Christmas show set to music.
For five weeks around the holidays people park, tune into a private radio station and if they like what they see, they can donate to the Rainbow Connection. 

"Making wishes come true for kids with life threatening medical conditions in the state of Michigan," said George Miller, director of the Rainbow Connection.

"Every penny from the donation goes right to Rainbow Connection," Waldrep said.

"The first couple of years he made a couple thousand dollars but last couple of years he's made at least 10,000 dollars which is a couple of wishes," said Miller.

The show can really draw a crowd and that apparently is a part of the problem. 

"We go through and have volunteers that come out here to make sure people are behaving, make sure neighbors can come and go as they please and that driveways aren't blocked," Waldrep said.

Despite those efforts Waldrep received a warning letter from an attorney representing his own home owners’ association. 

"I am forbidden from doing this light show without written permission from the board," Waldrep said.

The letter says the display violates bylaws, calling the light show a "nuisance" and "annoyance" and threatens legal action if he continues it this year. 

"I'm not sure the home owner's association understands how much joy it brings to the people who come to see it, but the joy and the hope it brings to our wish kids and their families," Miller said.

Neighbors Tony and his wife Jessica live down the street and were shocked to hear about the letter from their HOA. 

"I know people have complained about it. but the fact that they want to bring up a lawsuit - and what are they going to do, sue him? is really preposterous," Tony said. "There are so many other things to fuss about."  

"We have plenty of other issues to argue about," Jessica said.

Either way, Brent Waldrep has a decision to make. If he fights the hoa and loses in court, he'll be on the hook for the all the legal fees. 

But if he doesn't do it:

"We are at risk of losing a $10,000 donation to The Rainbow Connection this year," Miller said.

So Waldrep is open for suggestions legally or otherwise. He normally has the show operational by Thanksgiving. and in this case time really is money.