Mayor: Massive ‘pop-up party’ cost Long Branch $25,000; city sues organizers
Long Branch is suing the organizers and promoters of last month's "pop-up party" that attracted 5,000 people to Pier Village on the Jersey Shore.
It was advertised on social media as a party with free food and music, dance contests and paid fights, and encouraged attendees to bring their own liquor and cannabis.
News 12 New Jersey spoke via phone to one of the people named in the lawsuit filed.
Wavell Thompson, of East Orange, says he had nothing to do with the party on May 21 at Pier Village, which the city says cost them $25,000 in police overtime and cleanup.
Local businesses also had to shut down for the day.
The city is taking all available measures to prevent another similar event set for later this month.
The city is also using video that captured large crowds and fights as evidence in its civil case against the people they claim were the organizers and promoters of the event.
It’s believed the same group held a similar event last June.
"If you watch the videos, there’s just fights breaking out, there’s people on top of cars, smashed a police car. June 19 last year, they broke windows and threw furniture around,” said city attorney Louis Rainone, who filed the suit earlier this week.
Rainone claims organizers failed to obtain proper city permits, violated local laws, created a public nuisance and committed negligence and civil conspiracy.
The suit asks for $25,000 in damages and for an injunction to keep it from happening again.
“We thought if we could get a intervention of a civil judge, we can get an injunction to stop the parties and get the people to have to come in and get permits," Rainone explains. “One of reason you have special events permits is to protect the people at the events. So we have to make sure there are adequate bathrooms and if you need, if you have 5,000 people, are there emergency services those kind of things?”
Another party was being promoted on social media for June 19, but social media influencers, including Thompson, are now telling followers that event is canceled. They're encouraging people to stay away or face prosecution.
The city is hopeful that they follow up on that. Thompson, meanwhile, claims he had nothing to do with the party on May 21. He said he didn’t promote it, organize it or even attend it.