MARQUETTE — The former head coach for Northern Michigan University’s hockey team was arrested in connection to a fraud and forgery incident.
Deputies from the Marquette County Sheriff’s Office say Walter Edwin Kyle, 60, was arrested and charged with one count of residential mortgage fraud $100,000 or less and one count of forgery of documents affecting real property.
Marquette County Sheriff Greg Zyburt confirmed with ABC 10 that Kyle is the former head hockey coach at NMU. The university announced early Friday that his contract would not be renewed.
His arrest stems from an eleven month investigation conducted by the department into an incident in which deputies allege that Kyle committed fraud and forgery when obtaining a mortgage from River Valley Bank back in 2014. Kyle has since posted bond and was released from jail. He will be arraigned on April 3 in Marquette County District Court.
Mr. Kyle’s attorney, George Hyde, released a statement tonight to ABC 10 about his client’s charges. The statement, in its entirety, reads as follows:
“These charges against my client, Mr. Walt Kyle, are extremely unfortunate and a prime example of misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the facts.
The facts are the following: While married to his former wife, his former wife granted him a general power of attorney on her behalf, which authorized him to sign her name on her behalf on any financial documents. While still married, Mr. Kyle and his then wife, Ann Kyle, jointly decided to refinance an existing bank loan in order to complete certain home repairs. Mr. Kyle did nothing more than sign his wife’s name to the loan documents, with his wife’s full knowledge and consent. The home repairs were completed while Mr. Kyle and Ann Kyle were still married.
During subsequent divorce proceedings, Ann Kyle sought to avoid responsibility for the loans by falsely claiming no knowledge of them. That didn’t work, and the judge in the divorce correctly determined that the loan was a joint debt. This loan was paid in full during the divorce proceedings.
Undeterred, Ann Kyle has since convinced a local sheriff deputy to seek charges against Mr. Kyle, despite the existence of the valid power of attorney that Ann Kyle had granted her husband.
The bottom line is this: Mr. Walt Kyle did nothing wrong and broke no laws whatsoever. These charges are the unfortunate result of his former wife’s campaign to disparage him, which is ironic given her criminal behavior during their divorce proceedings that until now Mr. Kyle has been reluctant to report to the authorities.
Mr. Kyle is entirely innocent.”
-George Hyde, Attorney for Walt Kyle
^ Walt Kyle (L), George Hyde (R)
Director of Athletics Forrest Karr announced a leadership change in the Northern Michigan hockey program Friday afternoon.
Walt Kyle’s employment agreement will not be renewed, and a comprehensive national search for the third head coach in program history will begin immediately.
“Walt has played a major role in the most significant moments in Northern Michigan hockey history,” said Karr. “I enjoyed working with him, and I am thankful that he always supported every program in the department. I appreciate his work and dedication to the hockey program and wish him well in all future endeavors.”
Kyle compiled an overall record of 265-263-68 during 15 seasons at the helm of the program. He guided the Wildcats to six 20-win seasons and to the 2010 NCAA Tournament. He also coached two Hobey Baker finalists and five All-Americans.
Kyle played two seasons at Northern Michigan after transferring from Boston College and recorded 90 points (31g-59a) in 85 career games. He captained the 1980 and 1981 Wildcat teams that advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four. ?
After graduating from Northern Michigan in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education, Kyle became a graduate assistant coach under Rick Comley. He was promoted to assistant coach in 1982 and held that position until 1992. He was the top assistant coach when the Wildcats won the 1991 NCAA Division I national title.