York Ice Arena's ex-general manager facing trial, allegedly stole $23K

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
York Ice Arena in York City, Friday, June 26, 2020. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The former general manager of the York Ice Arena is now facing trial in York County Court, accused of stealing about $23,000 from the arena over a three-year period.

Michael James Cleveland, 51, of the 100 block of Sunset Drive in Fairview Township, remains free on his own recognizance, charged with the third-degree felony of theft by failure to make required disposition and the first-degree misdemeanor of theft by deception.

He appeared Tuesday morning before District Judge Linda Williams and waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

His formal arraignment in York County Court is scheduled for Oct. 27, court records state.

Chief deputy prosecutor John Hamme declined comment afterward. Cleveland's defense attorney, Doug France, did not comment on his client's behalf Tuesday.

France has previously said that Cleveland "stands by his earlier statement that he improperly converted funds to a personal use."

Cleveland walked away from a reporter after leaving the district judge office.

The allegations: He is accused of stealing cash from the ice arena between 2014 and 2017, while he was general manager there. At the time, York City had contracted with the York Revolution to manage the rink.

Michael James Cleveland

Two York Ice Arena employees went to York Revolution President Eric Menzer in 2017 and told him they suspected Cleveland wasn't depositing cash into the arena's bank account, according to charging documents filed by the York County Detective Bureau.

Menzer then retained an accounting firm to investigate, documents state.

Cleveland was interviewed by the accounting firm and initially blamed other ice arena employees, saying there was a universal key that allowed anyone to access his office, charging documents allege.

He also initially blamed one of the two whistleblowers for "errors" in relation to the missing money, saying there were work-performance issues with the man, documents state.

Another employee told the accounting firm in 2017 that Cleveland would take cash from a lockbox and handle depositing the money, according to documents.

In March 2018, the York County District Attorney's Office asked RKL LLP, the investigating accounting firm, to prepare a forensic investigative report of their findings. That report was completed on March 12 of this year, documents state.

Allegedly confessed: On July 23, Cleveland told York County Detective David Jay that he took the cash — estimated at $22,892 — for his personal use.

Coach Mike Cleveland of Fairview Twp. guides the York Devils under-18 ice hockey team through a practice at the York Ice Arena in this 2007 file photo.

Much of that money came from skating leagues that used the ice arena regularly. They include the Saturday Morning Old Timers, York Synchro, the She Devils and a York College skating class, charging documents state.

Cleveland also admitted he gave a former ice arena's work cellphone to his daughter to use, at a cost to the area of $1,318, documents allege.

The York Revolution had managed the York Ice Arena since 2014. But in July, the York City Council gave that contract to Maryland-based Black Bear Sports Group.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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