‘Santa’ Defies Court Order
Robert George, the perennial Santa Claus whose home is adorned year-round with thousands of decorations, defied a court order on Christmas by opening the doors of his Glendale home to hundreds of visitors.
George, 63, wearing a red satin cap, red overalls, black boots and a sweat shirt featuring a Santa wearing sunglasses, greeted scores of wide-eyed youngsters whose parents ignored a “No Trespassing” sign that was planted in his front yard last month as part of an agreement he signed with the city to rein in what has become a nuisance to his neighbors.
Instead of receiving visitors 365 days a year, George must now restrict his merrymaking from November through January. While at one time hundreds of handicapped and terminally ill children were given tours of his home, now only two children are permitted each month.
“Let them (the authorities) do what
they will to us,” said the defiant George. “I don’t care if they arrest me. It’s a denial of my constitutional rights. Who are they to tell me who can enter my home?”
On Christmas Eve, George brushed off the “Scrooges at City Hall” and greeted about 1,500 people. By midday Christmas, another 400 or so visitors had stopped by and “many more” were expected by nightfall, when George said he would switch on “only 25,000 of the 60,000" lights strung around his house.
Police Sgt. Mel Barnes said that despite the large number of visitors who dropped by, “we haven’t received a single complaint (from neighbors). And, unless there’s a complaint, we won’t do anything about it.”
George’s spectacle had once attracted as many as 15,000 people a year. As a result, city officials received complaints from angry neighbors who complained of massive traffic jams outside their homes.