Southeastern PA

Pool party controversy has neighbors enraged

Pool party controversy has neighbors enraged

PERKASIE, Pa. - Was it a just a wild pool party or a "near riot," as some neighbors have claimed? That's the question in the small town of Perkasie in Bucks Co., where Borough Council is expecting an earful from upset residents Monday night.

Menlo Pool is a quiet place that typically hosts family birthday parties. Perkasie leaders said they thought that's what they booked last Sunday night.

Instead, they got a massive, nightclub-style party of up to 700 people -- with a $40 cover charge and an NBA player hosting. Billed online as the "Splash in First Class" party, organizers promoted the event on social media throughout Philadelphia.

Perkasie's police chief believes illegal drug use happened at the party, although photos and videos posted online don't appear to even show drinking. Nonetheless, borough manager Dan Olpere said the party quickly swelled out of control, overwhelming the pool's staff. Neighbors called police. Eventually, around 20 cops showed up from several departments. Witnesses claim one officer was even thrown in the pool, and Olpere admitted some party-goers were jumping on a police car.

One local blog called it a "near riot," although some neighbors say it was much less rowdy.

Ryane Elliott, who helped promote the party, told 69 News: "It wasn't no riot. It was just a nice birthday party for someone."

But Perkasie leaders say that was a lie -- and that they were hoodwinked. But with so much online buzz -- and an entourage of 15 security guards who showed up with the group -- how did the town not know?

A New Jersey pool that was supposed to host the Splash In First Class bash cancelled just days earlier after too many red flags.

69 News: "How hard was it for you to figure out that this was not a birthday party?"
Michelle Adams (Assistant Manager, Chartwell Swim Club, Marlton NJ): "Not hard at all ... It really wasn't a difficult thing because the story changed like 3 or 4 times every time we talked to them."

Bucks Co. District Attorney Dave Heckler said he is looking at possible criminal charges of whether event organizers defrauded the borough by misrepresenting the party. In spite of the uproar, Olpere said damage was only around $500. He plans to send a bill to the group.

In the meantime, Olpere said the pool is looking at stricter rental rules on the size, type, and duration of parties. He said pool staff have also been reminded they can shut down a party or call police if they feel a situation is getting out of control.

Olpere and other Perkasie leaders will address the issue at tonight's borough council meeting at 7 p.m. 69 News will be there and have an update tonight at 10:00.

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