Pool party tied to NBA player is under investigation

This is invitation was posted on social networking sites for a pool party supposedly hosted by Dion Waiters.
This is invitation was posted on social networking sites for a pool party supposedly hosted by Dion Waiters.
Posted: August 22, 2013

The man on the phone said he was desperate.

He needed to rent a swimming pool for his younger brother's birthday party. A New Jersey swim club had canceled because of a sewage problem. He was willing to pay extra - even make a donation.

The public pool in Perkasie, a small borough in upper Bucks County, declined his offer for more money. But it booked the private party for Aug. 11, expecting about 100 people.

"The pool manager prepared for younger kids," said Daniel P. Olpere, Perkasie's borough manager. "He dedicated a lifeguard to do quick tests to make sure children could swim."

Three days later, on a Sunday night, 800 people descended on the pool, paying $40 each to attend a party allegedly hosted by NBA player Dion Waiters, a Philadelphia native and Cleveland Cavalier.

A significant portion of the crowd drank alcohol, which is against the borough code, and took illegal drugs, police said. They threw the lifeguards, mostly teenagers, into the water.

Guests taunted the police when they arrived, officers said. A half-dozen people reportedly jumped up and down on a patrol car.

Ten days later, Perkasie is still recovering from the party.

The Bucks County District Attorney's Office is investigating whether the party promoter, who has not been named, committed any crimes when he booked the event.

The pool's lifeguards, who are between the ages of 17 and 21, have been offered counseling.

"They were not treated well," Olpere said. "Many of them were yelled at and taunted just for doing their jobs."

The lifeguards rescued several partygoers who jumped in the water but couldn't swim, according to Perkasie's interim police chief, Steven F. Hillias.

One lifeguard declined to comment except to say the party was "traumatizing."

It's still unclear whether Waiters, who played basketball for a private school in Burlington County, even showed up.

"One person said they saw him," Hillias said. "It doesn't appear that he was actually at the event."

The Landmark Sports Agency, which represents Waiters, did not return a phone message from The Inquirer seeking comment.

The borough plans to bill the promoter for damage caused to pool property, the amount of which is being tallied.

Police and the District Attorney's Office are focusing their investigation on the promoter and will not charge any of the partygoers with wrongdoing, Hillias said.

"It's surreal this could happen when we've had dozens and dozens of pool parties and never an incident," said Olpere, the borough manager.

On the night of the party, a security contingent of about 15 people arrived first. They told pool employees that "famous people were coming."

Once the party escalated, police said, the security team "was largely there to insulate the pool guests and allow their rowdy behavior to continue."

The party eventually drew police from surrounding towns. The crowd had mostly dispersed by midnight.

Kate Lane, who lives near the pool, said hundreds of cars filled up her neighborhood on the night of the party.

"There weren't enough facilities, so people were urinating everywhere," Lane said. "The guy who did this only wanted money. He didn't care about anybody."

Contact Ben Finley at 610-313-8118 or bfinley@phillynews.com, or on Twitter @Ben_Finley. Get more Bucks County news at Inquirer.com/bucksinq.

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