TRAVERSE CITY — A man accused of vandalizing a Peninsula Township development’s sign and the property of the developer who owns it is taking responsibility.
Mark Leslie, 54, of Traverse City, faces two felony charges for malicious destruction of a building valued at $1,000 or more but less than $20,000 court filings show. He could face a five-year jail term or pay a fine of $10,000 or three times the actual damages, whichever is greater.
Grand Traverse County prosecutors issued a warrant for Leslie’s arrest Nov. 13, a little over a month after the O’Grady Development Company reported someone spray-painted the words “Land Rape” on a newly-installed sign at The 81 on East Bay, as previously reported. The same message was spray-painted on the seawall of development owner Kevin O’Grady’s house.
Leslie told the Record-Eagle he takes full responsibility, acted by himself and had no “intention or anticipation” that he would actually cause destruction.
“I chose a foolish and immature way of expressing myself, and I regret that I did it,” he said.
He was arraigned in 86th District Court Thursday, where Magistrate Tammi Rodgers set a $5,000 personal recognizance bond, records show. A bond condition bars him from contacting O’Grady.
He’s set to appear in court for a preliminary exam Dec. 3.
Kyle O’Grady, Kevin O’Grady’s son and a partner in the company, said he feels a “small portion of justice,” and he’s not ruling out other actions to hold Leslie accountable.
It’s more than just the damage from the spray-painting of the sign and sea wall, Kyle O’Grady said. His family feels targeted and harassed, and the incident dented the development’s reputation, too, he said.
“If I get a lead coming in from anywhere in the state and I tell them the name of the development, in some cases (they’ll ask) ‘Is that the one? Something about a land rape,’” he said.