Mayoral candidate facing criminal charges
October 26, 2012
By DANIEL BLACKBURN and KAREN VELIE
A longtime Paso Robles business owner making a write-in bid for mayor has an extensive criminal history, was arrested five times in September alone, and faces felony charges for making terrorist threats while brandishing a firearm against a neighbor.
Jeffrey Rougeot’s rap sheet includes at least 10 misdemeanors and the felony, and stretches back to the late 1980s. It includes charges of knowingly purchasing stolen property for resale and several uncontested charges of driving under the influence.
Rougeot, 45, owner of a car stereo business, entered the mayor’s race Sept. 23. He was encouraged to do so, he told some attendees at a recent candidate’s forum, by “a lot of important people” in Paso Robles. The first person to sign Rougeot’s nomination papers to submit to city officials was Jim Reed, a council candidate.
Rougeot showed up apparently under the influence at the Oct. 17 forum in the Grand Ball Room at Paso Robles Inn, sponsored by CPRN2012, answering questions haltingly, and walking in and out of the auditorium on numerous occasions. He also snapped at audience members who laughed during his time at the microphone. (See the video.)
Local media has ignored Rougeot’s actions, even though reporters from both KPRL and The Tribune witnessed Rougeot’s meltdown at the forum.
His deportment in front of an audience of 75 at the forum was explained over the next two days by personalities at Paso Robles’s KPRL radio as the result of “a cold.” And in a recent article days after the forum, The Tribune blandly noted Rougeot was “running to help local youth.”
In fact, Rougeot has been barred by court order from having any contact with his ex-wife and their two children, even through a third party, because of a domestic violence restraining order. The court has also ordered him not to molest, strike, threaten or come within a 100 yards of a puppy called “Baby.”
Efforts to contact Rougeot for comment were unsuccessful.
Paso Robles police officers have been arresting Rougeot regularly.
On Sept. 22, Micah Warnke, a neighbor of Rougeot, called 911 to report the mayoral candidate was threatening to shoot and kill him with a 9mm handgun. Police arrived to find Rougeot had fled the scene.
Warnke told police Rougeot arrived at his house, started banging on his front door while screaming sexual insults and “I am going to kill you,” according to a police report.
A woman who lives across the street from Rougeot came home with two teenage girls shortly before the alleged incident. She told police Rougeot appeared drunk, was yelling about not liking Warnke, and that “he was going to go across the street and do something,” the report says.
The unidentified woman told officers she saw Rougeot pull something out of his waist band and raise his arm, but because it was dark, she was unsure what he was holding. The woman related that she quickly herded her teens into the home “because of the way Rougeot was acting,” the report says.
In that same report, the officer cites other alleged instances of Rougeot threatening his neighbor while wielding a gun.
A week before that incident, on Sept. 15, police received a call that a man was slumped over the central console of a vehicle with its engine running and it headlights on in the 400 block of Creston Road. Officers arrived, turned the engine off, and attempted to waken the driver, Rougeot.
“I shook Rougeot numerous times and pulled on his shirt but he continued to sleep,” the reporting officer wrote. “After numerous attempts to wake Rougeot, we finally were able to do so.”
Rougeot told police he was on his way home and that he was tired and had not been sleeping well. Officers attempted to give Rougeot a field sobriety test, but stopped because “he could not keep up with his body.”
“My supervisor and I had to catch Rougeot prior to him tripping over the curb and falling on the ground,” officer Lance O’Brien said in his report. “During a pat-down search incident to arrest, I also noticed Rougeot had urinated on himself while sitting inside the vehicle asleep.”
Rougeot’s blood alcohol was .221 percent, according to the police report.
During September, police arrested Rougeot three times for allegedly violating the restraining order. In one of the instances, Rougeot’s ex-wife called police to report that he was repeatedly telephoning her. An officer arrived, answered a subsequent call, and asked Rougeot to stop calling while informing him that he was violating the restraining order.
“Jeffrey Rougeot then said ‘fuck you’ and hung up,” the report says.
A copy of the Aug. 28 restraining order obtained by CalCoastNews emphasizes that Rougeot cannot own or possess any guns, firearms or ammunition. The court also ordered him to sell his guns within 24 hours of being served, and to bring proof of the sale to the court within 48 hours. The court order warns Rougeot that failure to do so could result in jail time and a $1,000 fine.
Nevertheless, a Paso Robles Police Department records check revealed that on Sept. 22, Rougeot still had two guns registered in his name, one of which is a 9mm handgun.