Former ASNMU president arrested

Cody Boyer

NMU Public Safety arrested former ASNMU President Amber Lopota two weeks ago after being charged for embezzling more than $1,000 from ASNMU.

Lapota
Lapota

On Wednesday, March 26, Lopota was charged with embezzlement by the agent of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000 after a police investigation, according to NMU Public Safety. The embezzlement charge against Lopota came one week before the final meeting for the current ASNMU assembly of the winter semester. Lopota was then arraigned on Thursday, March 27, according to Public Safety.

NMU Public Safety director Mike Bath said steps are in motion to take the charge to court. Bath also said not much can be discussed until a preliminary trial is conducted.

“We were investigating a possible embezzlement and conducted an investigation,” Bath said. “Ultimately, we then placed charges at the prosecution office. Amber was arrested for the charges and over $1,000 was embezzled. This Thursday (April 10) is the first trial, so that’s the next step. We will know more after that.”

The release of information to the public was delayed, Bath said, due to the status of the investigation.

“The investigation was still ongoing at that point,” Bath said. “Not much could have been said last week.”

Larry Pagel, ASNMU adviser, said until the investigation is over, not much can be said at this time.

“There is still an ongoing investigation,” Pagel said. “I am not able to comment.”

Lopota was ASNMU president for the 2013-14 academic year after being elected in April 2013. Lopota declined to comment, and said all questions must be deferred to her attorney at this time. Karl Numinen, Lopota’s attorney from Pence & Numinen, said they are still looking into Lopota’s case and Lopota has left the university.

“We are still in the process of investigating the allegations against Ms. Lopota,” Numinen said in a statement to The North Wind. “Things aren’t always what they seem at first, and I expect that as this process unfolds, the full truth will be revealed.

“In the meantime, Amber has chosen to withdraw from NMU instead of submitting to a hearing before the student conduct board. Unfortunately, the student conduct board operates behind closed doors – the hearings aren’t open to the public – and their decisions can be based purely on hearsay and other questionable forms of ‘evidence’ if the board determines that the allegations are merely ‘more likely than not’ without any of the procedural safeguards every person is entitled to in a court of law.”

According to Bath, Public Safety forwarded the case to Judd Spray, Marquette County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney. Spray said he confirmed the charge placed against Lopota.

“The max of the penalty is five years in prison or a $10,000 fine,” Spray said. “The preliminary examination is pending in the 96th District Court.”

According to ASNMU, Lopota still held the position of president as of their last meeting on Tuesday, April 8. Newly elected ASNMU president Katerina Klawes will take office on Tuesday, April 15.

The preliminary trial for Lopota is set for 3 p.m. Thursday, April 10 at the Marquette County courthouse.

Junior public relations major Abby Roche, ASNMU vice president and Lopota’s running mate, declined to comment at this time.