Criminal Charges for Ski Lodge Vandalism

U of M Fraternity Under Fire

The damages to the Treetops Resort and Spa in Gaylord were unbelievable. And the cost of the ensuing cleanup has been staggering. From restoring all the ceiling tiles that were torn down and furniture that was broken, to replacing urine-soaked carpets and demolished cabinetry, the total is $200,000 and climbing….

But beyond the staggering costs that the fraternity and sorority houses are expected to cough up, there is the issue of criminal charges. As of now, three members of U of M’s Sigma Alpha Mu chapter are facing charges for their role in the destruction. ¬†The enormous party this past January destroyed 45 rooms at the Treetops Resort and Spa in Otsego County.

Although their names have not yet been released, the three former Sigma Alpha Mu members include the president and the treasurer. Both are charged with allowing minors to drink alcohol at a party. This is a misdemeanor under Michigan law.  Another member is facing felony charges for destruction of property.

Under Michigan’s laws, providing a premise for drug and alcohol consumption by minors is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and the possibility of a $1,000 fine. Felony malicious destruction of property is considerably more serious though. It is punishable by up to five years in prison.

The consequences of the wild, out-of-hand partying extends beyond the criminal charges to the entire fraternity chapter. Sigma Alpha Mu has had the letters stripped from their campus house, and the national organization has completely cut ties with the chapter. As for the university, they have chosen to punish the greek house by not recognizing Sigma Alpha Mu for a minimum of four years.

In addition, there may be penalties enforced by U of M. University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald, said that the punishments for students involved could range from educational penalties to expulsion. Each case would be reviewed individually.

Sigma Delta Tau sorority members, who were present at the time and were alleged to have participated to a degree in the damage, were placed on disciplinary suspension by U of M. But as of yet, none of those young women have been charged with a crime.

In a recent news release, the Otsego County prosecutor had this to say about the prosecution‚Äôs plans for additional charges: “Upon the receipt of additional identification information, it is anticipated that additional malicious destruction of building charges will be issued against several other members of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity, and steps are being taken to obtain information on their specific actions.”

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