FRANKFORT — Two Benzie County sheriff’s deputies used “poor judgment” when they made a cash wager with a then-Frankfort city council member, Sheriff Ted Schendel said.
Schendel said full-time deputy Sgt. Ken Fallowfield and part-time snowmobile deputy Grant Sowa participated in a late-January bet with then-Councilwoman Sandra Jackson, who predicted city police officer Tim Cavric could be fired at an upcoming public meeting without some form of due process.
“I think there was poor judgment and I have every intention of speaking to them personally,” Schendel said. “I think they should always use common sense. I truly believe at the time of the incident they didn’t intend to do anything wrong.”
The deputies each apparently received $100 Jackson after the council did not fire Cavric. Schendel said he didn’t consider the wager might have been illegal until a Record-Eagle reporter asked the question.
It’s a misdemeanor under Michigan law to accept money based on the outcome of an uncertain event.
Schendel said he contacted Benzie County Prosecutor Sara Swanson, who told him the law originated in 1931 and she likely wouldn’t prosecute. He compared it to laws on the books that forbid sex out of wedlock.
Swanson said she talked with Schendel and didn’t press him for details.
“He didn’t tell me what the bet was, who it was between, and I didn’t ask,” she said.
Swanson agreed such a bet would be “inappropriate” and appeared to be illegal, but it’s unlikely she’d pursue charges unless she’s asked to take a deeper look.
“If I start prosecuting them for betting, I’ll have to start prosecuting everybody,” she said.