A 71-year-old Denver man has reached a settlement with the city after being charged with a felony for drawing pickleball court lines on a gym floor with a permanent marker.
Arslan Guney, known as the “mayor of pickleball,” faced a criminal mischief charge after making adjustments to the Denver Central Park Recreation Center’s gym floor. The city claimed he caused roughly $10,000 in damage at taxpayers’ expense.
Guney agreed to pay roughly $4,672, or about half of the city’s estimated cost to remove the markings, “re-screen” and “coat” the gym floor, according to his lawyer, Hollynd Hoskins.
The city, in turn, agreed to drop the charges against Guney and return his revoked city parks and recreation center membership.
Guney is “thrilled” to return to the pickleball courts, Hoskins said in a statement to HuffPost.
Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said her office was “pleased” to resolve the pickleball case.
Hoskins said her client was “acting as a generous volunteer” for the parks and recreation department and was using a black Sharpie marker to renew “pre-existing” marks that staff had made to designate pickleball line markers.
Guney had “no intent” to damage the floor, she said, and he’s since apologized to the department.
Previously, Hoskins, a pickleball player herself, said she wouldn’t have represented Guney if he had actually vandalized the gym.
“You had to walk around this gym to see these marks,” Hoskins said.
Hoskins later got an estimate from a contractor she claimed worked on NBA gym floors.
The contractor, she said, told her he could get the markings off the floor at a “nominal cost,” but would do the work for free if the city claimed it cost $10,000.
“This is clearly what I called a ‘pickleball shakedown,’” Hoskins said.
Hoskins and Guney played pickleball once he regained his membership at the city’s parks and recreation facility.
The two also set up a GoFundMe account with a “mission to turn a negative into a positive” and raise money for the gym’s repairs, she said.
Any money that exceeds the cost of the repairs will go toward the nonprofits of pickleball pros Simone Jardim and Jay “Gizmo” Hall, according to Hoskins.