Man's house is home to controversy
By AMY WIMMER
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 13, 2001
REDINGTON SHORES -- Michael Glick, the 50-year-old resident accused of terrorizing his neighborhood with his eccentric behavior, is a dichotomy.
So is his house.
From the purple side of his gulf-front home, more than a dozen round, yellow, frowning faces look out with disapproval on his southside neighbors. An illustration of a troll, with its pants down, perpetually moons the folks next door. A stuffed pink panther, about 4 feet long and perched on the roof, could be arrested for indecent exposure.
"Those neighbors are just mean, spiteful people," Glick said.
On the north side of his house, there is a large yellow smiley face on a wall of orange. "Great neighbors," Glick says with a shrug.
Some of those who live around him, be they on his "great" or "spiteful" list, view Glick as a friendly, well-meaning maverick who plants beneficial sea oats along the dune line, hosts great parties and once rented a front-end loader to help his neighbors clean up after the 1993 no-name storm left sand drifts on their streets.
Others say he is a vindictive and intimidating agitator who carries his taste for retribution too far. During his latest feud with the neighbors to the south, Glick posted signs reading, "Child molestor go home." He has been accused of leaving dead rats or chickens in the mailboxes of his enemies.
"We feel that he is making the entire neighborhood less desirable by such activities and that this is done solely to harass ourselves," next-door property owners Ramon and Alexandrine Boswell wrote in a letter to J.J. Beyrouti, the mayor of Redington Shores.
A third group of residents in Glick's Lee Avenue neighborhood don't mind the man but are afraid even to speak positively about him for fear of getting caught in the crossfire.
"They want to live in peace; that's why they're here," Beyrouti said. "But they know that if they're on the wrong side of him, he'll take that away."
The town of Redington Shores, which has warred with Glick practically since his arrival in 1988, wants him to remove the outward signs of an inward tendency to push the envelope. City Building Inspector Bill Kropik has asked Glick to remove pieces of his backyard oasis, a habitat for bullfrogs and butterflies, that were constructed without permits on the beach side of the state's Coastal Construction Control Line.
Kropik also has asked Glick's sister Patricia Elterman, who lives in Illinois but owns the house Glick occupies, to remove the "signage and animated figures" -- namely the smiley faces, the mooner and the pink panther.
So far, Glick has refused.
"It's my god--ed house," Glick said. "I'll paint it purple with frowny faces if I want to."
Glick has developed his own brand of civil disobedience: petty crimes and stunts that normally would go unchecked and certainly unprosecuted. But combine all of Glick's behaviors into one rap sheet, Beyrouti said, and he is a "neighborhood nuisance."
Take, for example, the pink panther.
For months, the stuffed animal was nestled in a tree in the front yard of his quaint, whimsical beach cottage. One day a friend, mocking Glick's neighbors to the south, placed the panther on the south side of Glick's roof, pulled its tail up between its legs and positioned the panther's hands on the tail.
The neighbors who want Glick kept in line call this antic pornography. Others call it free speech. Still others in the neighborhood shake their heads and refuse to talk about it.
Glick claims innocence. "What? What's wrong with it?" he demands. "It's a tail."
It is the same story Indian Shores police Chief E.D. Williams has heard for years. Officers with the Indian Shores department, which handles law enforcement in Redington Shores, know Glick by name after responding to more than 60 calls to his home in the past 10 years.
Glick's list of enemies is long: An elderly man in his neighborhood whom Glick thinks used to sneak around his property looking for reasons to call the cops on him. A neighbor who spoke up at a public meeting and said her "neighborhood is being terrorized" by Glick. A Times reporter who published his criminal background in a story about his run for public office.
"The only people I get aggressive against are people who are mean," Glick said.
Police have investigated him for spray-painting epithets on signs, vehicles and trees, throwing property into the Intracoastal Waterway and splattering egg nog on a neighbor's car, house and mailbox. He has been arrested for firing a shotgun at a local coin laundry, an incident Glick insists was an accident.
Williams said Glick once told a woman that her husband was cheating on her. During a feud with elderly neighbor Emil Hebbel Jr., Glick posted a sign on a portable toilet in his neighborhood that said "Emil's Lunchbox" and included the man's home telephone number.
"He basically gets mad at people, and when he does, he harasses them," Williams said. "Usually it's not anything physical; it's more just nuisance things like now where he painted the faces. He goes by and honks the horn, or he parks illegally."
The Redington Shores Town Council voted unanimously last week to crack down on Glick's illegal parking, despite his cries that they are selectively enforcing the law against him. He continually parked in front of a neighbor's mailbox, leading the council to ban parking in front of that neighbor's property.
"He got mad at these people next door, so he parks three inches from their mailbox, and there's no law against parking on the street or right of way, so we had to deal with this specific problem," said Williams, the police chief.
Glick is furious about the new parking rules. In Redington Shores, where many homes hug the streets and residents and beachgoers count on street parking, the ordinance was unfair, he said.
"That was a perfect spot for five or six cars," he said. "But to hurt me, they hurt everybody."
Then there is the backyard getaway that Glick has created for himself, with tiki bar, flagpole, a winding wooden walkway, bullfrogs and butterflies.
"I've got a whole ecosystem here now," he said.
City officials say they don't have anything against wildlife, but Glick has constructed much of his oasis west of the state's Coastal Construction Control Line, and the work required state permits.
Glick has been in trouble before for building in front of the state's jurisdictional line, but after the state forced him to remove his construction, Beyrouti said, Glick rebuilt.
"As soon as they turned around, he put everything back into place," Beyrouti said. "We would love for them to act and clean it up because it is completely inexcusable."
Even though he ran against Beyrouti for mayor in 1998, and though Beyrouti received more than four times more votes than his opponent, Glick hasn't placed the mayor on his list of enemies.
"Nice guy, but he's got the job from hell," Glick said.
He does, however, challenge the town's authority to make him alter the exterior of his home.
"There's no law that says I can't paint my house purple, and there's no law that says I can't have a stuffed animal on my roof," he said. "I'm maybe a little eccentric."
But Beyrouti said the clock may have run out on Glick's eccentricities. "If you don't punish bad behavior, you're fueling it," he said.
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