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VIDEO: Strange island arrests

Alex Green • Sep 29, 2014 at 5:24 AM


A trial involving an allegedly unfair arrest unrelated to violations of the law was delayed a third time Thursday.

Lisa Cooper, general manager of Put-in-Bay Resort, and two others who say they were unfairly arrested by Put-in-Bay police in September all have been chomping at the bit to show audio and video surveillance from the arrests in court.

Watch the video in the player below

The surveillance evidence also has been made available to police, island Mayor Margaret Scarpelli and Village Council members, but thus far there have been no takers. 

Cooper was arrested on an obstruction charge when she was unable to immediately provide police with golf cart vendor contracts for a police investigation of a parking violation.

The other two other employees were arrested after they refused to talk with police about hotel management's decision to fire another employee and for not immediately issuing a paycheck for the terminated employee.

The "unbelievable" arrests and agonizing ordeal intensified Thursday when Cooper's trial was continued a third time.

Resort officials were told Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan and his assistant prosecutor David Boldt needed more time to review the case, the same reasoning provided in March when the trial was delayed. 

The case against one employee was dropped earlier this year, but Cooper's trial and the other employee's case remain pending in Ottawa County Municipal Court.

PIB Resort officials want Mulligan to immediately take steps to get the remaining charges dismissed. 

Mulligan has declined to comment on the status of the misdemeanor cases.

He said Thursday that Boldt was leading the prosecution and did not answer questions he was provided in an email from the Register.

Mulligan was asked why the case has been continued three times, what criminal act is being investigated and whether he gave orders to the arresting officer.


An officer can be heard saying he had orders from Mulligan to make the arrests.

Cooper and her defense attorneys were poised to show Put-in-Bay police Chief Ric Lampela, Scarpelli and prosecutors the surveillance of the arrests during a scheduled mediation hearing July 1, but the the mayor and chief failed to attend.

The video and audio depict two terminated employees trying to collect their final paychecks at the resort alongside two PIB police officers when Cooper told them it was not possible to prepare a paycheck on the spot.

The group left, but four officers returned minutes later, threatening a hotel desk employee.

"We could talk about it here and I give you a warning, or we could talk about it at the station and you get arrested," the officer tells the employee.

The woman said she did not wish to talk with officers.

"Put your hands behind your back, you're under arrest," the officer says, promptly handcuffing and detaining her.

Her charges were ultimately dismissed, but police once again overstepped their authority, the employee said.

"It didn't involve me I had nothing to do with (the employees getting fired)," the woman said.

The woman agreed to talk with the Register but asked that her name not be used.

"I knew cases like this happened, but I never experienced it," she said. "Maybe on YouTube, I thought. It was a learning experience for myself. It's nothing I want to be a part of."

Another employee's arrest later that day was also recorded by the hotel's surveillance. 

Suspect tells PIB police 'You guys are out of your minds'

Resort officials told the Register the surveillance equipment was installed to protect the hotel and its staff from police harassment, which has been a problem in the past. 

Cooper was arrested in a separate incident the previous day.

Scarpelli told PIB Resort officials months ago she would conduct an independent investigation.

She was terse when asked by a Register reporter after a Council meeting Monday about her investigation. 

"I'll speak with (the owner) about that," she said.

She stated during the Council meeting she would contact the hotel's owners, but as of lthis morning no contact had been made.

Resort officials say they've been blacklisted along with other businesses, business owners and island residents.

The PIB Resort has been on Lampela's "bad side" since there was a disagreement with him about the village's noise ordinance years ago.

Dennis Rectenwald, an island business owner and retired schools superintendent said he's also on the chief's bad side for talking at council meetings about concerns he has with the police department.

Rectenwald was handcuffed July 11 by a PIB police officer after a traffic stop and detained for 15 minutes before being issued a citation.

Witnesses said police were way over the top in stopping Rectenwald and handcuffing him for a traffic citation. 


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