Complaints lead judge to bar two parties, other events at Anne Arundel mansion

Man was shot outside the house last weekend

July 01, 2005|By Annie Linskey and Andrea F. Siegel | Annie Linskey and Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel County judge yesterday barred two scheduled weekend parties and temporarily banned any other events from taking place at the Gambrills Mansion - the scene of a 400-guest party last weekend that was hosted by two National Football League players and ended with an early morning shooting.

The 10-day restraining order sought by county officials and issued by Circuit Judge Ronald A. Silkworth prevents the owner or anyone else from living in or hosting events at the 18,000- square-foot house.

Neighbors have complained that the owner is running an unauthorized nightclub where admission has been charged for parties lasting until 4 a.m. There have been sewage overflows, hundreds of cars choking the street and messes left behind, county officials contended in a 14-page complaint filed yesterday.

"We are concerned about the health and safety of people. We are concerned about the condition of the neighborhood," said Michael Lord, an assistant county attorney.

Meanwhile, the state police, responding to questions from a Sun reporter, yesterday opened an investigation into whether troopers improperly provided security at a March 12 event at the mansion.

Sgt. Thornnie Rouse, a state police spokesman, said the probe is focusing on whether the troopers had approval to work security at the mansion, and if they did, whether they should have been allowed to do so. The county subsequently fined the mansion owner $100 for not having proper permits, according to Anne Arundel officials.

County staff contend that the house lacks a residential occupancy permit, and that the owner has been operating a commercial business in a residential area, which would violate zoning laws.

The two parties set for this weekend and advertised on the Internet - a Saturday night event billed online as "Ekow's Birthday Bash" and a Sunday-night pool party for Ghana-based Agoo Magazine - were not "authorized" by Oladipo Olafunmiloye, said his attorney, Michael R. Worthy. Olafunmiloye is president of Lafa Inc. of Waldorf, the company that owns the home.

"There is a strong possibility that he won't be having any more parties," Worthy said.

Attorneys for the county and Olafunmiloye said they hoped to work out an agreement in coming days to avoid what could be a two-day hearing for a preliminary injunction or other court action.

Worthy said he was advising Olafunmiloye to work toward completing inspections and obtaining the permits that allow residential use of the mansion on 6.3 acres off Saddle Drive.

The injunction was sought after James G. Sidney, 35, of Hyattsville was shot at a weekend event that was hosted by Washington Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington and San Francisco 49ers linebacker Julian Peterson, Anne Arundel County police said. Sidney was apparently working security when he was shot after trying to intervene in a scuffle on the lawn outside the home.

Authorities said Arrington was not involved. Sidney was listed in serious condition yesterday at Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Ariel Jackson, a spokesman for the Fire Department, said of the event: "My people told me it was a madhouse, it was very difficult to access."

Anne Arundel police Lt. J.D. Batten wrote in an affidavit that he was the first officer to respond to the shooting and that "I had to walk down the street because of the traffic, no emergency vehicles could get through."

Medical equipment had to be carried on foot for 200 yards to the bleeding victim, Batten wrote.

The state police probe will be the second time that internal affairs investigators have looked into the propriety of allowing troopers to do security work at the mansion, Rouse said.

In September 2004, state police investigated a complaint that a trooper acted as a security guard for a fund-raiser thrown by Platinum Gloves Inc., a group that raises funds for amateur boxers. Rouse would not comment on the outcome.

The complaint filed by the county yesterday accuses Olafunmiloye and his company of creating health, safety and fire hazards in the Bretton Woods community by hosting parties attended by as many as 1,000 people. Police had been called for at least four different parties.

One such event was sponsored in part by WKYS-FM and Good Times Production on March 12, according to county liquor board files. Billed as a "Pisces Birthday Celebration," a flier promised models, an open bar, pool tables, free food and disc jockeys.

The next weekend another party was held at the mansion, this one billed as "A Night of Tasteful Seduction" featuring a pro-football player and a Playboy model, according to an invitation filed with the county liquor board. Party attractions included "a lingerie and more" fashion show, belly dancers, a massage room, a "men's only room" and a "sensual art room." Tickets cost between $40 and $50 and were available via Ticketmaster, according to the flier.

"You could feel the thumping [music] going through the walls. There were cars from Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana, Delaware, New York and New Jersey," said Lou Chesla, who lives in the neighborhood.

Even then, Chesla feared the crowds could become violent.

"Just picture yourself going to any club. There are hundreds of people and alcohol and who knows what else going on. Just visualize the statistical opportunity for crime to occur," he said. "Back in March I said my largest fear by far was having someone shot - and it happened."

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