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Deputies Break Up Rowdy Party at Home of Basketball Team Owner

July 6, 1988

MALIBU, Calif. (AP) _ Sheriff’s deputies say they had to dodge bottle rockets while breaking up a Fourth of July party outside the home of Los Angeles Clippers basketball team owner Donald T. Sterling, but the businessman denied Tuesday that he had such a party.

Authorities are trying to determine if Sterling gave alcohol to minors following the disturbance outside his seaside estate late Monday, said Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Fidel Gonzales. Seven belligerent partygoers were arrested outside the home, Gonzales said.

The party apparently was open to the public and attracted an estimated 1,000, many of them teen-agers, Gonzales said. The clash with deputies took place about 11 p.m., he said.

″An unspecified number of people not only refused to leave but began inciting people to resist the deputies,″ Gonzales said. ″Other juveniles began shooting bottle rockets at the deputies and at a sheriff’s helicopter that was hovering overhead.″

Sterling’s spokesman, Michael Selsman, said the only party his boss threw was a hot dogs-and-soda affair for about 25 high school classmates of his daughter, and that gathering ended at 9:30 p.m. He denied Sterling served liquor to minors and said his boss hadn’t heard any bottle rockets or seen anyone skirmishing with deputies.

″The public beach was jammed,″ said Salsman, vice president of Sterling’s real estate investment firm. ″If there was a disturbance it had nothing to do with Sterling.″

Confronted with the businessman’s denial, sheriff’s spokesman Gonzales checked with his superiors and said the department stood by its version.

″An investigation will be done to determine if Mr. Sterling was furnishing alcoholic beverages to the minors,″ Gonzales said.

Two 16-year-old youths were arrested for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon, the bottle rockets.

Three other 16-year-olds and a 15-year-old were arrested for investigation of inciting a riot. Authorities witheld the juveniles’ names.

Carson Turner, 23, of Los Angeles, the only adult taken into custody, was arrested for investigation of battery on a peace officer and released on his own recognizance, Deputy Bill Wehner said.

No injuries were reported.

Of the arrestees, only one 16-year-old boy remained in jail Tuesday after his parents refused to pick him up, Wehner said.

Sterling’s home is about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles in this seaside celebrity colony.

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