It has been over a year since the much-discussed $400,000 vandalism incident took place at the Treetops Resort in Gaylord, Michigan. A total of seven people have since faced charges, a fraternity has been disbanded, and people all across the nation have weighed in with their opinions on both the positive and negative aspects of Greek life, as a result. But it appears that this particular chapter in fraternity notoriety is coming to an end.
According to the Otsego County Prosecutor’s Office, they do not intend to pursue the matter any further. Many people have expressed shock at the fact that only seven people faced charges in connection with the incident when the damage was so very extensive. But as Otsego County prosecutor Mike Rola has pointed out, while others may have participated, “knowing it and proving it are two different matters.”
The incident took place in January of 2015. More than 100 Sigma Alpha Mu (SAM) Fraternity members from the University of Michigan, along with members of the Sigma Delta Tau sorority, stayed overnight at the Treetops Resort in northern Michigan. In a wild party that staff claims when on well into the early morning hours, substantial damage was done to the fraternity’s 40 rented rooms.
There were smashed cabinets, ceiling tiles torn down, shattered furniture, urine soaked carpets and broken windows. The damage was extensive. In total, the Treetops Resort estimated the damages and resulting lost revenue at over $400,000. This led to criminal charges and even a civil suit against several of the SAM members.
Fraternity house has since closed down
The Wolverine chapter of Sigma Alpha Mu had the letters stripped from their campus house and the national organization cut ties with the chapter. Their fraternity house has since closed down. The reasons given for this very stern action were that the members chose to protect the identity of the vandals instead of taking responsibility for their actions.
The seven people who ended up facing charges included the fraternity’s former president and treasurer, Joshua Kaplan and Zachary Levin. Charges included furnishing alcohol to minors and malicious destruction of property. Those convicted were ordered by the court to perform community service, pay $5,000 each to Treetops Resort, and were placed on probation. But that isn’t likely to be the extent of it. These felony convictions are likely to plague those that were convicted for decades into the future. If new information comes to light in the future, the prosecutor’s office may consider revisiting the possibility of additional charges against others that were involved in this incident.