Big party no cause for celebration in Sandy Springs

It cost him a night in jail, but Anthony Epps appears to have a future in party promotion -- just not in Sandy Springs.

The future is less certain for two Atlanta-area law enforcement officers hired as security guards for Epps' Halloween bash, held at a vacant Powers Ferry Road mansion and attended by roughly 1,000 revelers. It's the fourth such unauthorized gathering held within the past few months at some of the nascent north Fulton city's swankiest addresses.

"We don't want to get a reputation," said Sandy Springs Councilwoman Karen Meinzen-McEnerny, who represents the district where the parties occurred. "Sandy Springs isn't the place for this stuff."

Police shut down the Powers Ferry Road party after receiving numerous complaints from neighbors. The chaos wasn't contained to the recently constructed mansion that has yet to serve as anyone's residence, Sandy Springs police spokesman Steve Rose said. It extended to a nearby grocery store, which was unknowingly serving as a pick-up point for a party shuttle bus.

"The report says the officers went to 6300 Powers Ferry, in the parking lot of the Publix Store, and found about 500 cars," Rose said. "The lot was described as ‘mass confusion,' so the officers had to sort out the traffic problems at the shopping center."

Meanwhile, the bash continued.

"It was the biggest party I've ever seen," said Kathy Battaglia, who lives across the street. "There were cars parked on both sides of the street, buses going back and forth. And there were probably more people outside the house than inside. The noise was unbelievable."

The crowd consisted mostly of students from Georgia State and West Georgia universities, where the party was heavily promoted. Fliers hinted at an MTV-esque ode to material excess, minus the flamboyant celebrities or spoiled Sweet 16 birthday girls. The $20 admission didn't cover alcohol, sold inside without the necessary permits.

"We wouldn't have approved it," Rose said.

And that could spell trouble for the promoter's brother, Rockdale County sheriff's Sgt. Brian Epps, one of two local law enforcement officers hired to provide security. Jodi Shupe, a spokeswoman for the Rockdale Sheriff's Office, said Epps has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending an internal investigation.

It's unclear whether Clarkston Police Chief Tony Scipio, whom Rose said was hired by the promoter to provide security, will face any penalties. Scipio told WSB-TV that he was there to pick up his niece.

"It was pretty obvious this was an illegal party," Rose said.

Clarkston Mayor Lee Swaney said he hasn't discussed the controversy with Scepio, who did not return calls seeking comment.

"I don't think the chief had anything to do with it," Swaney said. "But I will find out and take whatever action is required."

Sandy Springs officials say they are going to rigorously enforce existing noise and parking regulations to curb what appears to be a budding nationwide trend. The San Diego Sheriff's Department recently recruited Neighborhood Watch groups to help curb a rash of all-night rave parties being held in foreclosed homes.

"I think the economy is playing a role here," Meinzen-McEnerny said.

It certainly padded the wallet of Anthony Epps, who grossed $20,000 for the Halloween hullabaloo. He faces only a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct because he had the owner's permission to hold the party.

"Too much promotion and too little planning," Rose said.

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