Two senior members of Sigma Alpha Mu, the now-disbanded University fraternity responsible for hundreds of thousands in damages to a Michigan ski resort, confirmed charges of furnishing a place for the consumption of drugs or alcohol by minors Thursday in the 87th District Court.
Business juniors Joshua Kaplan and Zachary Levin, former president and treasurer of the fraternity chapter, respectively, now face additional proceedings to determine whether they will accept an interim plea agreement to the charges, or take the case to trial. Two other members of the fraternity already pleaded guilty to separate charges of malicious destruction in July.
The charges against Kaplan and Levin carry maximum penalties of either 30 days in jail or a $1,000 fine if convicted. However, if the students admit to the charges or are convicted at trial, their punishment will be up to the sentencing judge in the district court, Otsego County Prosecutor Michael Rola said in an interview with The Michigan Daily on Thursday.
He added that comments during Thursday’s proceedings seemed to indicate the court is not interested in sentencing the students to jail, and see community service as a better alternative.
“The idea, as the judge indicted on the record today, was that it would be her impression that because damages was done to the community, it would be a very good statement to the community to have the persons who commit some of that damages actually having to work to repair the community,” he said.
A phone conference between Kaplan, Levin, Rola and Judge Patricia Morse to either accept the agreement or schedule a trial will take place at the end of September.
University alum Matthew Vlasic, a third member of the disbanded fraternity who was a LSA senior at the time of the trip, was also set to meet with the court Thursday for sentencing, but the meeting was moved to August 21. Vlasic pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of malicious destruction of a building over $200 — but less than $1,000 in July and is expected to pay a $2,000 fine, according to Rola. He was initially charged with a five-year felony offense.
University alum Jesse Krumholz, a fourth SAM member to receive criminal charges over the incident, is scheduled to be sentenced on September 17. He plead guilty to a charge of malicious destruction of a building less than $200 in July.
Along with the criminal charges, Treetops Resort, which sustained the damages, is also pursuing an ongoing civil suit against multiple members of SAM and members of the University’s chapter of sorority Sigma Delta Tau for extensive property damage and damage to the resort’s reputation. Total restitution sought by Treetops includes $230,000 for physical damages, and an additional $200,00 for lost revenue, court fees and brand damage.
Since the January incident, the fraternity’s international board has disbanded and permanently closed the University’s chapter of SAM, following the University’s decision to no longer recognize it as a student organization. Former members have also lost their house on Oxford Road in Ann Arbor.
SDT is on disciplinary suspension for two years for their involvement in the damages.