UM frat members charged in resort vandalism

The Detroit News

Two Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity members at the University of Michigan have been charged in connection with the January destruction of rooms at the Treetops Resort near Gaylord.

Otsego County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Rola had issued charges of providing a premise for drug and alcohol consumption by minors — a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of $1,000 fine and 30 days in jail — against Joshua Kaplan and Zachary Levin, said their attorney, John Minock.

The students waived their arraignment appearance in writing Tuesday and are awaiting their next court date, which is expected in April, he said.

A third member is being charged with felony malicious destruction of property, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, but has not yet been arraigned.

Rola has said others may be charged when further information becomes available.

The charges stem from a weekend in January at the northern Michigan ski resort during which fraternity members allegedly broke windows and damaged furniture, light fixtures as well as other items. Resort officials estimated there was $230,000 in actual damage and upward of $200,000 in management time and reputation damage.

The Jan. 17-18 incident occurred the same weekend two other UM fraternities and two sororities were at Boyne Highlands Resort, about 50 miles northwest of Gaylord in Harbor Springs, where damage also was reported on a smaller scale.

Citing the ongoing investigation, a Treetops spokeswoman Tuesday said she was unable to comment on the charges beyond a statement issued last week by general manager Barry Owens, which said: “Since Day One, we had complete confidence that the Michigan State Police and the prosecuting attorney would conduct a thorough investigation. We appreciate their efforts and are happy to hear that charges are being brought forward.”

Boyne reported broken doors, holes in the walls and damage to light fixtures, carpeting and more. Those involved were Pi Kappa Alpha and Chi Psi fraternities and Alpha Phi and Delta Gamma sororities.

Following the two incidents and a hearing at UM, university officials last month said they would not recognize Sigma Alpha Mu for at least four years. They also placed Sigma Delta Tau sorority on disciplinary suspension.

The university also issued lesser sanctions against Pi Kappa Alpha and Chi Psi fraternities and Alpha Phi and Delta Gamma sororities.

Meanwhile, Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity has decided to close the UM chapter. Members must move out of the house by May 3.