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Former commissioner violates bond agreement

A former Berrien County Commissioner spent the weekend in jail after a judge said he was in contempt of court for violating his bond agreement following an embezzlement case.

In March, Robert Wooley pleaded guilty to embezzling $100,000 or more from the North Berrien Senior Center which carries a 20 year maximum sentence.

Wooley also pleaded guilty in March to attempted embezzlement of $20,000 to $50,000 from the North Berrien Fire Rescue.

On Monday Wooley was arraigned for allegedly crossing state lines to go to the Blue Chip Casino several times according to Judge Sterling Shrock.

Francis Wooley, Robert Wooley's mom, said this situation has been 'tragic' for her family, and she said her son has a gambling addiction.

Francis said, “It's similar to alcohol, it's a gamblers disease and he needs treatment for it and I hope the judge decides that he can receive the treatment as soon as possible so he can receive treatment for this illness.”

Judge Shrock said Wooley was reported to have been at Blue Chip Casino four times since the end of February.

A concerned taxpayer who has been following this case closely thinks this is ridiculous.

Rick Briand said, “Who knows what he's gambling with, he's gambling with money that quite possibly is the money he stole from Berrien County taxpayers, so I think he should have been under strict control!”

Francis said her son needs help and counseling for what she says is a gambling addiction.

Francis said, “I'm hoping that this might help other people who frequent the casinos all the time. The casinos are not going to lose. We have a number of them in the area and we have a number of people who are addicted to them. And they're losing their homes, and their jobs, and everything because of it.”

Along with the misdemeanor for violating bond, on Monday Judge Shrock added a new condition to Wooley's bond agreement. In court, Judge Shrock said Wooley can't drink alcohol, go to a bar, or go to a casino.

Briand questioned why this was not in the first bond agreement.

Briand said, “Blue Chip Casino is one of the material witnesses? Their records department? I believe they should have restricted him from gambling right from the start.”

Wooley is scheduled for sentencing in regards to the embezzlement case on April 20th.

On Monday afternoon Wooley bonded out of the Berrien County Jail.

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