The story began in March 1989, but the publicity in the case didn't
come until seven years later. The El Tovar mansion would become a
rallying cry for those complaining about the way city government is
"I think this was a tragic situation to the city," said Glendale City
Councilman Sheldon Baker. "Employees became fearful of exercising any
discretion, and it has obviously tarnished the image of the city. No one
ever wants that to happen again."
Aram Kazazian, a member of the city's Board of Zoning Adjustments,
applied for a building permit in 1989 for a single-family home, and he
received one to construct a 8,000-square-foot home.
By August 1990, the city was aware Kazazian was making alterations to
his approved plans but did nothing. Kazazian filed revised plans in
February 1991, but no permit was granted based on the revisions.
City Atty. Scott Howard drafted a 90-day occupancy permit in February
1992 that was approved by Public Works Director George Miller. Kazazian
continued to live in the home until December 1993, when he moved out
because of a foreclosure by Garfield Bank.
The home, valued at $4 million, measures 13,750 square feet, 72%
larger than the plans approved in 1989. The size of the home meets codes
but its height and setback from the property lines are violations of city
codes. Retaining walls by their height, number and setback also violated
The home has a living area, dining room, kitchen, six bedrooms and
maid's quarters. There is a swimming pool, tennis court, circled driveway
and covered walkway.
The case gained attention in May 1996 when the Board of Zoning
Adjustments rejected an appeal to grant variances for the home, which had
just been purchased for more than $1 million by Dr. Rahim Karjoo and his
As neighbors cried corruption, the city announced it had done an
internal probe in 1994. Senior building inspector Jim Uitermark was given
a four-day suspension for signing off on plans. It was upheld in 1997 by
a hearing before the Civil Service Commission.