Pickleball Proceedings: Court date set for Central Park man accused of drawing pickleball markings on rec center court

“He hopes sanity prevails and a mutual resolution is reached with Denver Parks & Recreation and no criminal charges are filed on Wednesday.”
4 min. read
The Central Park Recreation Center. March 18, 2022.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

The pickleball parley and persecution may end in court on Wednesday.

According to attorney Hollynd Hoskins, 71-year-old Arslan Guney will appear in court Wednesday morning, where the Denver District Attorney's Office will announce whether it will move forward with criminal charges in the pickleball case.

"Mr. Guney's arrest and incarceration on a felony criminal mischief charge has caused extreme stress for both he and his family," Hoskins said. "He hopes sanity prevails and a mutual resolution is reached with Denver Parks & Recreation and no criminal charges are filed on Wednesday."

Pickleball is a popular racket sport, and Guney is known by fellow pickleball fans as the "Mayor of Pickleball." He can often be found at the Central Park Rec Center playing and teaching the sport.

Courtesy of Hollynd Hoskins

The courts aren't permanently marked for pickleball. Instead, yellow raised cloth markers that resemble tape are used to designate the ins and outs of the playing field. Those markers aren't permanent and need to be set up, along with the nets, during pickleball play.

Guney is being accused of destroying Denver Parks and Recreation property after he drew 1-by-1 boxes on the court of the Central Park Recreation Center indicating where pickleball court boundaries should be placed. He faces a felony criminal mischief charge, which carries a prison term of up to three years.

According to an arrest warrant and video footage, Guney drew markings on the floor to indicate where the yellow markers belong. Maintenance staff were asked to remove the markings with a "solvent," but whatever substance was used "was also removing the finish on the floor," according to the warrant.

Permanent marker drawing on the court at the Central Park Recreation Center.
Courtesy of Denver Parks and Rec

The warrant tallied the damage at $9,344.58.

But according to Hoskins and several witness statements she received, rec center staff drew Xs on the court floor to indicate where the yellow markers should go long before Guney. Hoskins said Guney simply and mistakenly followed suit, darkening the existing markings.

"This was an unfortunate misunderstanding," Hoskins said.

Guney turned himself in on March 24 and was later released on a personal recognizance bond.

After his release, D.A. Beth McCann said her office would not immediately file charges against Guney. Instead, she requested that Guney and Parks and Rec meet for mediation.

Permanent marker drawing on the court at the Central Park Recreation Center.
Courtesy of Hollynd Hoskins

"At my suggestion, the parties will attempt to resolve this matter through mediation with a city mediator," McCann previously said. "I am optimistic that by sitting down and working out a mutually-agreeable solution, this matter can be solved amicably."

Hoskins and Guney initially sought mediation, but according to the arrest warrant, John Martinez, the deputy executive director of Parks and Recreation, said he "was not interested in meeting with Mr. Guney" and the department would move forward with the charges.

In a previous email, Hoskins said she and Guney reached out to Parks and Rec several times "to clear up the misunderstanding, to apologize and to pay any reasonable damages." Hoskins said they also offered "to have the Central Park Pickleball Community agree to volunteer for at-risk children in Denver at any of the recreation centers to teach them pickleball and... offer mentoring and tutoring for their school work."

Since then, Hoskins has also reached out to outside contractors to provide quotes for the city. She said those were handed to the DA's office.

Photo of the Central Park Recreation Center's gym.
Courtesy of Hollynd Hoskins

Hoskins said the mediation is ongoing and the details are confidential. However, mediation should be completed prior to the Wednesday court date.

Besides facing possible charges, Guney was also permanently banned from all Denver rec centers and his membership was suspended indefinitely. Hoskins said she hopes that issue is also rectified in the meditation process.

"This has been incredibly stressful on Mr. Guney," Hoskins said. "It's an unfortunate and complete misunderstanding that never should have been reported to the Denver Police Department nor should an arrest warrant been issued because Mr. Guney did not have any criminal intent to damage the gym. We hope that mediation is successful and that no charges are filed on Wednesday. We hope Mr. Guney will be allowed to go back into the [rec centers] and continue to volunteer teaching pickleball."

Arslan Guney after being released from a Denver detention center. March 24, 2022
Courtesy of Hollynd Hoskins

Recent Stories