|By Greg Miller, Columbia Daily Tribune,
Mo.McClatchy-Tribune Business News
Nov. 14, 2006 --In 60 years of operation, the Lakeview Resort at the Lake of the Ozarks has never seen the kind of destruction that came with members of a University of Missouri-Columbia fraternity this weekend.
"It looked like a tornado came through here," said Jake Drake, who owns the resort with his father. "I've got pictures of chairs in the lake. It looks like small-scale Katrina."
Members of Alpha Tau Omega's Gamma Rho Chapter laid waste to the 79-unit resort Sunday morning as they collapsed chairs, splintered tables and crushed coffee pots before throwing fragments of the objects into the lake. Damages are estimated at $10,000
Fraternity president Patrick McHargue did not return a telephone call this morning.
"They're not too bright," Drake said. "They do things that they know they're going to end up having to pay for out of their security deposit."
About 120 members checked into about 40 cottages Friday. The guests and their dates went for a boat ride Saturday night and returned early Sunday, Drake said. Resort staff estimated the vandalism took place around 2:30 a.m. "I guess some of the guys decided to cut loose," Drake said. "I think some of them had it planned out."
The resort had outlawed fraternities, but Drake said his family began bending the rule several years ago for the Gamma Rho chapter's annual November visit -- a slow month for the summer hotspot. Relations might have soured last year when Drake kept part of the security deposit when chairs turned up in the lake.
When the resort's general manager discovered the destruction, she called the Camden County Sheriff's Department, blocked the exits and made the guests begin cleaning up.
Capt. Gary Bowling said his department's role ended there. "There's no charges filed," he said today. "There's not much that we got involved with once the two parties settled their difference."
Drake said McHargue and other fraternity officials agreed to pay $10,000 for the damages, but he is waiting for them to make good.
"If I get paid on that, I won't press charges," he said. "If they don't pay for the damages, then there are felony charges pending."
It isn't likely the chapter will find itself at Lakeview next year, Drake said. "We don't intend on taking that group back," he said.
Copyright (c) 2006, Columbia Daily Tribune, Mo.
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