DENVER — The man who faced a felony charge for using a Sharpie to draw lines on a faded pickleball court in Denver has settled with the city, and the charges have been dropped.
On March 14, Arslan Guney, 71, was accused of using a Sharpie to re-draw lines for a pickleball court in Denver’s Central Park Recreation Center. An arrest warrant issued three days later claimed $10,000 in damages at the expense of taxpayers and Guney faced a charge of felony criminal mischief.
The game — a mix of tennis, racquetball and ping-pong — is one Guney has played for years, according to close friends. He is nicknamed the "Mayor of Pickleball."
By late March, the Denver District Attorney's Office said it hadn't charged Guney and wasn't planning to, and instead encouraged him to solve the issue out of court.
On Wednesday morning, Guney and the City of Denver reached the settlement.
They both agreed that he could pay for half of Denver's estimate to remove the Sharpie marks on the floor, which adds up to about $4,672. He wrote an apology letter to the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation and his membership to Denver's recreation centers was reinstated. According to the settlement, the city would not pursue any criminal charges.
Gunsey said it had been a hard and stressful couple months for him, his family, his friends and his supporters.
"We have an amazing community, amazing friends," he said.
He said we're all human beings and make mistakes and sometimes you have to pay for them. He said he'll continue to volunteer in his community and play pickleball, and hopes for things to go back to normal.
"I can see that our neighbors were so strong and so tight together. I was really lucky to have so many supporters. So that's my learning lesson. I'm sure I'm not going to do it again — the same thing — and I'm sure you're not going to see me here again," he said, laughing.