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Knott's to Pay for Cinco de Mayo Fiasco

May 20, 1999| From Times staff and wire reports

Knott's Berry Farm will pay more than $13,000 by the end of the week to the city of Buena Park to reimburse it for police overtime and other costs incurred during the park's ill-fated Cinco de Mayo promotion.

"We've always reimbursed them for costs," park spokesman Bob Ochsner said. "The only difference is that this wasn't planned."

Thousands of teens ditched school May 5 to take advantage of Knott's 5-cent admission price.

By 10 a.m., about 32,000 people had jammed the park, prompting overwhelmed employees to close the gates. Scattered fights broke out among disgruntled would-be customers, and there were incidents of rock and bottle throwing. It took more than 200 police officers in riot gear to restore order.

Shortly after the disturbance, Knott's General Manager Jack Falfas agreed to reimburse police for their efforts.

Police officials totaled up the cost last week, and Buena Park Police Chief Richard M. Tefank presented a $13,093 bill to Falfas on Monday.

The Cinco de Mayo promotion raised more than $10,000 for the Boys and Girls Club of Buena Park.

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