GRANITE BAY (CBS13) — For the first time, we are hearing from the man who lives in the Granite Bay mansion that hosted hundreds in a New Year's Eve bash, feared to be a super-spreader party.
And we're learning he's also got a controversial past, with a conviction in federal court in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Pictures plastered across social media show hundreds of mask-less people packed inside the massive home once owned by comedian Eddie Murphy. Gabe Watters lives in the mansion now and hosted the party. He is now offering an explanation for the notorious night, through his attorney.
Attorney Mark Reichel issued a statement reading: "Mr. Watters had invited close friends to a planned small gathering at the very large house for New Year's Eve. The notoriety of the house caused those invited to broadcast the party and invitation across social media. He never intended for this event to be this big and he apologizes for how things got out of hand."
The statement also reads Watters at one point directed security to stop letting attendees in.
CBS13 has learned Watters has faced controversy before. And a criminal conviction. Court documents show details of the 2011 conviction in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. A jury found Watters guilty of obstruction of justice and submitting a fraudulent receipt for cars he took from the flood zone to re-sell in California.
Prosecutors had alleged Watters stole the cars that had been abandoned by their owners after an evacuation order was issued for the city of New Orleans. The jury could not reach a verdict in that part of the case. Watters served two years in prison.
Ten years later Watters is now living in a Granite Bay mansion once famous for its funny superstar owner, now notorious for a feared super-spreader party. The homeowners association that oversees the property is holding an executive board meeting Wednesday night in response to the party to determine what next steps it may take to prevent this type of scene from playing out again.
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