GAYLORD, Mich. (WWJ/AP) - Two of three University of Michigan students charged after their fraternity was blamed for widespread vandalism at a ski resort during a wild weekend party in January have waived their initial court hearing.
Sigma Alpha Mu chapter president Joshua Kaplan and Zachary Levin face misdemeanor charges of allowing drug and alcohol use by minors. Their lawyer John Minock says the 19-year-olds waived their arraignment appearance in writing Tuesday and are awaiting their next court date.
A third fraternity member who was charged with a felony, malicious destruction of a building, less than $20,000, is awaiting arraignment.
The students involved have already been ordered to pay restitution to Treetops and the city of Gaylord.
Minock told the Detroit Free Press in an email that his clients, both sophomores, were only involved in planning the weekend getaway.
"My clients are charged under a statute intended to cover conduct such as parents who allow underage drinking at teen parties. The statute requires that those charged had the authority to control the conduct of others," he said. "In the case of a hotel with over 200 college student guests, who had the authority to control guest behavior, the staff of the hotel, or just another 19-year-old guest?"
Otsego County prosecutor Michael Rola announced charges last week and says more charges are likely.
The Treetops Resort in Gaylord, where 45 rooms were trashed, says damages, legal fees and other expenses have reached $430,000. On that same January weekend, Boyne Highlands, near Petoskey, reported property damage by students who also belong to the University of Michigan's Greek system. Around $30,000 in damage was done to 12 condos at Boyne.
Sigma Alpha Mu's international board last week said the Ann Arbor chapter was being shut down. The university called the Treetops incident "reprehensible."
The university has restricted the activities of Sigma Delta Tau sorority for two years. Two fraternities, Pi Kappa Alpha and Chi Psi, and two sororities, Delta Gamma and Alpha Phi, were reprimanded for what happened at Boyne.
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