Biggest Embezzlement Case in Chippewa Co. Moves Closer to Trial; Hotel Continues to Recover After Nearly Closing

Police say over the course of multiple years a Sault Ste. Marie hotel was robbed of more than $500,000 by former employees.

The prosecution calls it the biggest case of embezzlement in Chippewa County history.

9&10 News has been following this case since four people, including three former employees of the Ramada Plaza Ojibway Hotel were arrested back in January.

They’re accused of working together to forge tax documents, overcharge guests and withdraw money from hotel accounts.

The owners of the hotel say they were almost forced to close the iconic hotel.

“We are very fortunate that we are healthy enough that we can still work,” Hotel Owner Dean Krieg, said.

Dean and Mary Lou Krieg say help from Central Savings Bank, a new hardworking staff and dedication, has brought them, full rooms, happy guests and packed tour buses.

“We work seven days a week, 14 and 15 hours a day because we care,” Mary Lou, said.

It’s been non-stop but necessary work for the couple now in their late 70s.

“We didn’t realize how bad it was until we get back here and when we got back here we were within days of having to close the hotel and the restaurant, there was no money left,” Dean, explained.

That was last winter when 9&10 News was in the courtroom as former hotel manager Joanie Grove, employee Victoria Garber and Joanie’s husband John Grove were arraigned.

Former Hotel Accountant Nicole Grove was also charged.

On Monday, all four defendants were bound over to circuit court on all the charges they are facing, moving this case closer to trial.

Joanie Grove is charged with embezzlement of more than $100,000, using a computer to commit a crime, conducting a criminal enterprise, tampering with evidence and lying to police.

Nicole Grove is charged with embezzlement of more than $100,000, using a computer to commit a crime and conducting a criminal enterprise.

John Grove is charged with conducting a criminal enterprise.

Victoria Garber is charged with using a computer to commit a crime and conducting a criminal enterprise.

They are all out on bond and have pleaded not guilty.

“We sure didn’t need this in our life at this stage in the game,” Dean Krieg, added.

It’s been seven months since this case began, the Krieg’s say they are pushing forward and the future of the hotel is bright.

“The Ojibway [Hotel] is a proud old girl and she still standing  and she’s still opening her doors to the public, the local people, the people  from all over the world, and we enjoy them all and most of all we enjoy seeing this resurrected,” Mary Lou, said.