Listen to Rodney Hart every Tuesday morning at 7:50 on the WGEM NewsTalk Live 105.1 FM. Click here for this morning’s show.
MONDAY’S SENTENCING FOR Todd Marler, former Spring Lake GM, was as riveting, sad and utterly fascinating a court hearing as I’ve ever seen.
Click here for the story. Marler got six years in prison for stealing more than six figures and setting his office on fire about a year ago to conceal the crime.
- TODD MARLER: Gets six-year sentence for theft, arson
Judge Mark Drummond was really good explaining why he sentenced Marler to prison. Drummond didn’t jump up and down or unfairly rip Marler, but he let the defendant know exactly what he thought.
The sentencing came down to whether Marler would stay out of prison so he could pay the considerable restitution, or if he’d be sent to the Department of Corrections for the seriousness of his crime. The arson sealed Marler’s fate, but I’ve seen more than a few large felony theft cases end up with probation sentences, and the judge addressed that very scenario.
“The message we send in cases where people steal large amounts of money, if you place them on probation and simply have to pay it back, is that you can take a shot at stealing things, and all you have to do is pay it back,” Drummond told Marler.
Spring Lake has taken a huge hit because of this, letting staff go, raising membership rates and losing members. There are some who wonder why the Spring Lake board didn’t know Marler was stealing money from them until he’d taken more than six figures.
“The people who are really good at this, and I put him (Marler) in that category, can create such a sense of ease and trust that it’s easy for others on the outside to say you should have known it,” State’s Attorney Jon Barnard said after the sentencing. “But we should not be assuming there was lax control. In fact, the controls they had in place ultimately led to his demise.
“The really good ones will disarm you, which is exactly what he did.”