U of M Students Accused of Causing Property Damage to Hotels
As if fraternity and sorority houses don’t have enough troubles with bad press already, here is another evolving story involving six greek houses from the University of Michigan. Some of their members are now facing the possibility of criminal charges for thousands of dollars’ worth of damage done to two Northern Michigan ski resorts.
During a recent weekend stay at the Treetops Resort and Spa in Gaylord, and the Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs, things apparently got out of hand. Completely and utterly out of hand….
According to the two hotel locations, the damage is extensive. Hotel rooms and hallways were completely trashed. Ceiling tiles and the metal tracking that held them in place were torn down. Cabinet doors were ripped off, rugs were destroyed, and tables and chairs broken up. Some of the pictures provided by the hotels show scenes that are reminiscent of post-disaster photographs.
According to U of M, there were a total of three fraternity house involved, namely Sigma Alpha Mu, Pi Kappa Alpha, and Chi Psi fraternities, and three sorority houses – Sigma Delta Tau, Alpha Phi, and Delta Gamma. The university says that all students and organizations involved will be held accountable.
The initial cost of the damages was tentatively given as $50,000, but as the investigation has continued and the restoration work has continued, the total has risen significantly. The current estimated total now lies somewhere between $85,000 and $100,000, but according to Barry Owens, Treetops Resort manager, this may increase further as the work continues.
The Michigan State Police are conducting the investigation and handling the complaint. However, when the time comes for them to make a recommendation to the prosecutor’s office, criminal charges will depend upon whether or not there is enough evidence against single individuals.
The charges could range widely, depending upon how much evidence is accumulated and what the total cost of the damages is, but a likely outcome is a charge of Willful and Malicious Destruction. If the cost of the damage assigned to each individual is said to be less than $1,000 this charge is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and fines equaling up to three times the cost of the damaged property.
However, if the damage done by each individual is considered to be in excess of $1,000 this is a felony charge and the possible prison sentences ranges from 5 years to 20, with fines that could range from as low as $10,000 to over three times the value of the damaged property.