U-M fraternity members accused of more than $50,000 in damages at ski resorts

 Fraternity members at the University of Michigan are under fire for trashing a pair of ski resorts.

They are accused of doing more than $50,000 of damages and could be facing criminal charges.

Broken furniture, holes in walls, ceilings pulled down debris scattered. It isn't a twister or a quake - just a wild weekend party in northern Michigan.

"We had a fraternity visiting and had an excessive amount of partying, way too much fun," said Barry Owens of Treetops Resort. "It created a disturbance and quite a bit of damage here at the resort."

Treetops Resorts in Gaylord and Boyne Highlands both resorts report hosting fraternities from the University of Michigan. Both reports documented significant vandalism from this past weekend's parties.

"They had a couple floors of rooms," Owens said. "And obviously things got quite a bit out of hand. We estimate the amount of cleanup and damages probably in the $50,000 range."

Boyne said two fraternities are responsible for the damage at Boyne Highlands but did not name the fraternities.

Treetops identified members from Sigma Alpha Mu from the University of Michigan.

FOX 2 stopped by the fraternity house for comment, but got no response.

Through the closed door FOX 2 was told that nobody would comment.

The University of Michigan released a statement from Rick Fitzgerald, University of Michigan spokesperson 

"We are very disappointed in the behavior of some of our students during a weekend visit to two northern Michigan resorts. The organizations and the individuals involved will be held accountable for their actions. We expect full payment for damages."

Next-door neighbor Billy Evans is a chemistry professor at the school.

"We saw them when they left here on Friday," Evans said. "There was about six buses or something. We've never seen that many kids on the busses leaving town.

Evans has been living here and teaching chemistry for the past 40 years and says this year has been like Animal House without John Belushi.

"The man who owns the house says they are just spoiled kids and they don't know how to take care of themselves. But it's the alcohol that gets things going."

Evans added that the city  has a no tolerance rule and police will come out and shut down parties that get too wild.

A statement was emailed to the Detroit News by Sigma Alpha Mu President Joshua Kaplan who emailed an apology.

"We are embarrassed and ashamed of the behavior of a few of our chapter members at Treetops Resort over the weekend of January 17-18," the statement said. "This behavior is inconsistent with the values, policies and practices of this organization.

"Our chapter accepts full responsibility for this incident and we will be working with the management of the resort to pay for all damages and cleaning costs. We will work within our own organization and with university officials to hold those who are responsible accountable for their actions."

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