Business owner's embezzlement may impact community project - WNEM TV 5

Business owner's embezzlement may impact community project

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FENTON, MI (WNEM) -

Signs at the Chasse Ballroom and Latin dance studio turned customers away.

Michael LaJoice owns the business, but he is behind bars and the dance studio is locked up.

"Totally surprised, when I pulled up, I saw your camera here, and I said uh oh, what's going on here," said Scott Lindsay, Chasse customer.

LaJoice confessed to Oakland County Sheriff's deputies earlier this week that he embezzled $20 million from the Clarkston Brandon Community Credit Union over a 12-year period.

"The dance instructors here were amazing people, and I'm sure they're hurt," said customer Joan Marie.

The 14 embezzlement charges LaJoice faces closed the doors to the dance studio and also brings into question the future of the Fenton Riverview Project.

The development is funded by LaJoice and was supposed to house businesses and condominiums.

"Well I think we're all surprised by what's happened, and I really don't know a lot of details other than what I've read or seen in the news, so we will just have to wait and see what happens," Fenton City Manager Lynn Markland.

Markland said the privately funded project does not impact taxpayers, but will likely leave an empty lot downtown.

"If the Riverview building was to be built, it would obviously have a positive impact on the downtown area, if it doesn't get built, we're still going to work to build our downtown," Markland said.

While that project is now in limbo, so is a question many chasse members have: will they see their money again?

"I wonder if we'll get our $460 back," Lindsay said.

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