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Red Wings Player, Former Business Partner Under Criminal Investigation

April 26, 1996

DETROIT (AP) _ A criminal investigation into money missing from a Flint housing development has targeted Detroit Red Wings player Keith Primeau and his former business partner, a newspaper reported today.

``There is an active investigation concerning some alleged missing money,″ Flint police Detective Scott Robinson told The Detroit News.

Primeau is being investigated along with Jack R. Wilks of Farmington Hills, who co-owned Horizon Construction until September 1995, Robinson said.

Primeau would not comment on the investigation, Red Wings officials said.

Primeau’s lawyer, Ron Deneweth of Troy, said his client’s role in the company was mainly that of an investor. Deneweth said Primeau sold his share to Wilks last September, but has yet to be paid.

Wilks denied the allegations and said he could account for all the money in question, which he estimated at no more than $20,000.

Investors in the Flint housing project filed a lawsuit Thursday in Genesee County Circuit Court, claiming they paid Horizon Construction about $260,000 last year as partial payment to build nine modular homes.

Wilks and Primeau ``converted said payment for their own use″ by presenting ``false and fraudulent documents″ to a bank and title company also named as defendants in the suit, the lawsuit alleges.

Construction stopped, subcontractors were not paid and nine investors who obtained construction mortgages ranging from $69,000 to $95,000 face foreclosure, the lawsuit claimed.

Robinson said he has presented a summary of the case to the county Prosecutor’s Office and received authorization to complete his investigation, which he expects to take about two weeks.

``Right now we’re giving Horizon an opportunity to show where the money went,″ the detective said. ``We still don’t know yea or nay on criminal charges.″

The Red Wings face Winnipeg tonight in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. Detroit is pursuing a second straight appearance in the Stanley Cup finals and its first NHL championship since 1955.

``I think about it every day, but it hasn’t had any effect on my investigation,″ Robinson said of Primeau’s role with the Red Wings.

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