Maroon Creek tennis tiff nets a no-contest plea |

Maroon Creek tennis tiff nets a no-contest plea

ASPEN – Calling it “the most embarrassing thing in my whole career,” an Aspen man pleaded no contest Wednesday to disorderly conduct for getting in a tennis-court scuffle with a fellow member at the Maroon Creek Club.

Longtime Aspen real estate developer Steve Marcus, 74, was given a six-month deferred sentence by Municipal Judge Brooke Peterson, and must undergo anger-management sessions.

“I promise this will never happen again,” Marcus told the judge at a hearing in Aspen Municipal Court. “It’s completely ridiculous.”

His attorney, Lawson Wills, said, “Mr. Marcus wants to apologize to the tennis club and the community for this incident.”

Aspen police cited Marcus in November, nearly a month after an encounter with Maroon Creek Club member Joseph Sloves, 70.

Sloves told police that on Oct. 5, a group of at least seven players were waiting for court assignments at the exclusive club, when Sloves bounced a ball off his racquet toward a group of players and said “let’s get started,” according to a police report.

“The ball hit Marcus in the head, Marcus was surprised. Sloves said Marcus started to use vile language and yell at Sloves. Sloves said he slowly walked up to Marcus and in a calm manner tried to apologize. Sloves claimed Marcus continued to verbally assault Sloves. Marcus punched Sloves in the chest. Sloves said he reacted and said ‘ are you out of your f—ing mind,” the police report says.

Sloves, whom some witnesses said tried to apologize to Marcus, reported that he was punched again, and fell to the ground and dislocated his shoulder. Marcus went down with him, police said.

“Sloves told me the dislocated shoulder was the most pain he has ever experienced,” wrote Aspen Police Officer Casey Ward in a police report.

Sloves had to undergo rotator-cuff surgery.

Marcus, meanwhile, told police that the ball was traveling around 20 mph when it hit him in the orbital bone below his right eye. He also saw stars, the report says.

Sloves, Marcus told police, acted like the incident was not a big deal and antagonized Marcus. Marcus also told police Sloves did not apologize, and later Sloves charged him and the two fell to the ground.

Witnesses to the event said that while Marcus over reacted when the ball hit him, “both men could have done things differently and both were at fault,” the report says.

Sloves also was charged with disorderly conduct, and he attended Wednesday’s hearing as well. His case is pending, and he’s due back in city court next week.

Judge Peterson said he knows both Marcus and Sloves, and episode was out of character for each of them.

“It sounds to me like an incredibly unfortunate incident that went well beyond the demeanor of Mr. Marcus … and Mr. Sloves,” he said.

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