CENTRAL GLENDALE — A Superior Court judge Friday ordered a 47-year-old Glendale man to stay at least 100 yards away from two city Community Development and Housing Department employees after he made racial remarks to one and threatened another.
Jorge Murillo, a Section 8 housing recipient, wept aloud Friday in court when he explained to Judge Laura Matz that he suffered from anxiety and panic attacks, which he said could have led to his erratic and threatening behavior.
“I have bigger fish to fry than to be a threat to these individuals,” he said.
But Matz said his ailments or past experiences weren’t excusable for his ill treatment of Carolina Siegler, the city’s senior community development supervisor, and Artur Bolbolian, a housing advisor.
“You do not get to use that as an excuse to treat people unkind,” she said.
Murillo had been receiving Section 8 vouchers through the housing department since October 2006. But the department recently sent him four notices of termination because they discovered that he allegedly had two residences, which violates policies in Section 8, a rental subsidy program.
Murillo testified that he never got the letters because he has a fear of being in public, also known as agoraphobia.
Once he got notice of the termination, his behavior toward the department’s employees allegedly spiraled out of control. He called the department at least 50 times and reportedly cussed at employees during their conversations.
“Nobody gets paid enough money to take that kind of abuse from people,” Matz said.
He told Bolbolian, who is Armenian, that the Turks’ actions in the Armenian Genocide were justified.
Bolbolian, who was his housing advisor, testified that since his conversations with Murillo, he has feared his and his family’s safety, even giving them a description of Murillo’s car.
Murillo, who represented himself during Friday’s hearing, apologized for making the racially insensitive statement.
“I made a very off-handed remark,” he said.
Murillo also left a threatening voicemail on Siegler’s phone.
In the message, which was played in court, he said she would never forget his face after meeting him.
“He tells me he eats bullies for breakfast,” she said.
Siegler testified that Murillo was capable of being violent, which caused her to fear for her safety.
“I am more vigilant when I leave the office,” she said, adding that she also activated an alarm system at her home.
Siegler and Bolbolian testified that the conversations they had with Murillo were generally hostile and angry. They said he was often long-winded and used profanity.
Murillo told Siegler that her actions had become his own personal Sept. 11, 2001.
The restraining order will remain effective for three years, Matz said. During that time, Murillo is only allowed to call the city’s Community Development and Housing Department twice a week, and even then he can only speak to city Administrative Analyst Joseph Rodarte.
Matz selected Rodarte because Murillo had expressed the deepest respect and trust in him during the trial. Rodarte spoke to Murillo multiple times on the phone and for several hours about his housing status.
But Rodarte also testified to Murillo’s erratic behavior, which he had witnessed.
Murillo reportedly went to the department’s office July 6 to speak to Rodarte.
Murillo allegedly pulled off his own eye glasses, threw them to the floor and stomped on them, Rodarte testified.
“I was startled,” he said.
Housing department officials reportedly grew so concerned about the safety of their employees that they moved Murillo’s Section 8 termination hearing, which is on Aug. 6, to the Glendale Police Department.
The department’s deputy director, Peter Zovak, testified that under his leadership, no employee has ever sought a restraining order against a Section 8 recipient before Friday’s hearing.
“I think you are capable of violence,” he told Murillo.