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City councilman charged with larceny

By Judy Reed

A member of the Cedar Springs City Council has been charged with theft of property from the building he operated a former business from.

Raymond Huckleberry

Raymond Huckleberry

According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, Sgt. Ed Good took a larceny complaint on August 31 involving theft from the upstairs level of Stein Brothers Pizza, 77 S. Main Street. Former owner Raymond Michael Huckleberry, 30, of Cedar Springs, had closed the pizza place earlier in the summer due to the economy. Huckleberry was buying the business on a land contract, and leasing the building, and told the Post last summer he was working on an amicable agreement to return the business to the previous owners. That agreement, however, fell through.

Parent said that because their initial investigation identified Huckleberry, a Cedar Springs City Council member, as a possible suspect, the case was turned over to the Kent County Sheriff Department’s detective bureau.

“Having another police agency take over an investigation to avoid any conflict of interest is a common practice,” explained Parent.

Detective E.J. Johnson conducted an investigation, and made an appointment to meet with Huckleberry. On November 16, the case was submitted for review by the Kent County prosecutor’s office, and a warrant was issued for one count of larceny over $200, but less than $1,000. Huckleberry cooperated with detectives throughout the investigation and voluntarily turned himself into authorities on November 18. He was booked into the Kent County Correctional Facility and later bonded out.

Huckleberry was arraigned on December 2 in 63rd District Court and pled not guilty. He had a pretrial conference on Tuesday, December 22, and is scheduled for another pretrial conference on January 14 at 10:45 a.m. A jury pick is set for January 19.

Huckleberry has been active in the community since childhood, including serving on the DDA board as a small business owner, was past president of the Cedar Springs Rotary Club, and is a member of the Planning Commission, and the City Council. While he would like to explain his side of the case, he said he couldn’t talk about it right now.

“My reputation in this community speaks for itself. I cannot discuss details of the case right now, but when I can, I will gladly share,” he told the Post Wednesday.

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39 Responses to “City councilman charged with larceny”

  1. Paix says:

    I am afraid Ray is not too honest about what was going on. **edit** It is sad for Ray and his family, I hope he stops fooling himself for his kid’s sake.

  2. Homebrew says:

    I think Ray’s reputation speaks for itself. The fact that Stein’s pressed charges is clearly a result of personal vindictiveness. Ray is a good father, neighbor and I for one am glad that he sits on the city council.

  3. Paix says:

    Homebrew you obviously do not know Mr. Huckleberry. Mr Huckleberry poorly ran his restaurants. The number of health safety violations says a lot with as many as 6 in one visit. The Post also protects the bizarre sign he posted outside his restaurant that said, “Closed due to the Bush/Hoover Economy.” A similar message was on the voice mail for the restaurant.

    Doug Stein has been a friend to Ray and his family since Ray was a little boy. There was never any effort on Ray’s part to work…

  4. Homebrew says:

    Well you miss a couple of things Paix. Just because someone runs a business poorly does not make them a bad person. He deserves credit for trying. I have known Ray for a number of years and I and have had multiple successful retail business for many years.

    So yes his business failed. Happened to Donald Trump a time or two as well. But I am not going to engage in a flame war with you, nor defend Rays skill as a business person. But you wrongly impugned his character and his ability to be a…

  5. Paix says:

    I know Ray too, and the way he ran his business is at issue. If Ray’s reputation is impugned it is by the truth.

    I am fairly sure no one is going to believe George Bush or Herbert Hoover had anything to do with this failure.

    Your comments about the Stein’s was pure bull and wrong. I spoke with Doug Stein as this was going on. He was classy enough NOT to discuss the details of this crime, but he instead spoke of his disappointment. After the store closed Ray would not return his calls…

  6. Homebrew says:

    Yes, I do agree that despite having little good to say about Bush, or Obama, neither caused the closing of the pizza place. Frankly there are only a handful of businesses in Cedar Springs managed properly. Whether this was a case of genuine wrong doing, or just getting in way over his head. I think time will tell. That said I think Ray is a good father and that has little to do with being a good/poor business person.

  7. Paix says:

    Well with Ray it is a little of both, I think. He never really did much with the real estate, he was mainly a pretend Realtor. Then he got the first store. I won’t go into details, but he was making some foolish decisions and anytime anyone said anything he would act like he could not make mistakes. He undermined his managers and partied with them and the partying has been a theme.

    I’ve never met a good business owner who thought he was so good that he did not need to listen to his people…

  8. Paix says:

    …and the Bush/Hoover thing just shows the hate in this guy’s heart. It shows he does not take any responsibility.

    In the end this will hurt his family. I do pray he wakes up. I don’t want to see him jailed, but a guilty verdict may be what he needs to wake up.

  9. Paix says:

    Any chance the Post will update us on this story?

  10. admin says:

    If and when we hear anything more we have have an update.

  11. Paix says:

    There was jury pick….Maybe if you go visit the Court you will know.

  12. admin says:

    The jury pick was rescheduled for March.

  13. Paix says:

    Thanks Admin….It would appear no plea deal was made…Is the guy innocent, or just cannot admit guilt? Stayed tuned to the Cedar Springs Post for more details….

  14. fastblu says:

    Why would Ray’s character as a father or a business person have anything do with what happened. He stole from on the property. So, because he’s a prominent member of the community and has done so many good things over his life, he should be excused from breaking the law? I think not.

    I could care less if he’s the Mayor, or the bum living on the street downtown. If he did the crime, he should do the time, as if it were you or I who did it

  15. Paix says:

    What good things has he done????????

  16. Paix says:

    Any word on trial?????

  17. Paix says:

    I guess trial is Monday. Interesting to see how this goes.

  18. Paix says:

    No results for the trial?

  19. admin says:

    The trial was rescheduled for May 13 at 9:30 a.m.

  20. Paix says:

    I see! Thanks for catching the question for me.

  21. BusDriver says:

    It’s funny how people have so much to say when they know so little of the whole situation. The little story in the post is just a glimpse of what really went on with the whole situation. I agree, if someone has done wrong, then it should be addressed, no matter who they are, BUT someone that has nothing else to do besides bash someone that they barely know on a personal level and has biased opinions because of a business deal that went south should not be commenting on something they have nothing to do with. On top of that, how can one bash someone else’s business when they are not sucessful themselves. It’s time to look in the mirror. Eventually, you might find that bashing others and trying to make others feel as miserable as you to make yourself feel better is not a healthy way of life!

  22. Paix says:

    Wow that was a whole paragraph that made no sense at all.

  23. admin says:

    The trial has been rescheduled again for June 4, at 10:30 a.m.

  24. Paix says:

    Do you know what is going on they keep rescheduling?
    Thanks for the updates!

  25. AbeMeir says:

    I wonder why this keeps getting delayed. Time to pay the piper Councilman

  26. Charlie Towns says:

    The trail is today right? Is there any word yet? I for one hope that there is nothing to this. I remember him from school, and he has done alot for the community, I would hate to see these charges be found to be true.

  27. anonymous says:

    Charlie–there is no decision made as of yet. It will most likely be another month or so before any decision is known. Could go either way.

  28. Paix says:

    So the trial is over?

  29. anonymous says:

    I guess if you really knew Ray like you claim you do, you would know the answer to that question. But since you don’t, you have no idea what’s going on now, just as you had no idea what was going on in the first place.

  30. Paix says:

    I did not call over to the Court. It is pretty clear, from his own admission, he cannot tell the truth to a life long friend, or the cops for that matter.

    Ray’s character is something I’ve known for a long time. Regardless of whether you want to call this a crime, the guy did a pretty underhanded thing to someone who was a friend.

    So I guess I was right.

  31. jeanson says:

    Seems to me if these items were treasure’s to Mr. Stein he would of had removed them prior to selling the business to Mr. Huckelberry, but it sounds like there is more more to the story than what is being told and Mr. Huckleberry should do the time if he did the crime.

  32. Abe Meir says:

    Mr. Huckleberry you owe us all a resignation. Your values and self centered acting out may or may not be criminal, but people who treat their friends the way you do also violates his public trust.

  33. Jim B says:

    jeanson I looked online and the pizza place started in March 2006. The 6 months things is so much bull. I agree there is more to the story. It says Huckleberry stops paying Stein his lease payments in January 2009. He closes the store last summer.

    So why sell the stuff last year while he is not paying his bills? He needed cash, that’s why. That is why it happened three years later after letting the man use the room past 180 days.

    He may have found himself a loophole, but he cannot escape what a lying and dishonest man he is. He lied to the cops, he lied to his friend and it was okay to let his employees be looked at for the crime.

    This man needs to vacate his office, now, Cedar Springs needs people with real character, not Loophole Ray.

  34. Paix says:

    It is time to go away Ray. Resign

  35. anonymous says:

    Do any of you know what really happened??? Apparently not. The Steins had 180 days to get anything they wanted out of the pizza shop including the upstairs. As jeanson nicely stated, if these signs that were sold for a mere $200 were so valuable, Mr. Stein should have not have abandoned them as they did.
    Ray did not lie to the cops, he was confused by the document that was given to him. Mr. Stein gave the detective a copy that DID NOT include the clause of getting all property out within 180 days of the signed lease. In fact, the first time the detective even saw this copy that included this was on the court day while court was in session!!! If Mr. Stein had been an honest person, he would have given the detectives every piece of documentation that he had. Ray was confused and gave Mr. Stein the benefit of the doubt, but when he double checked it, he saw what was given to the detectives and what was the actual signed lease, were two different things.
    And yes, we all know Ray was…

  36. anonymous says:

    struggling…but you cannot tell me none of you have not been there before. What would you do if you were there? Sell some of the stuff that you owned to help you and your family out. Technically, Ray did own that stuff even if he wasn’t paying his monthly payments, just as anyone that is foreclosed on would still be the owners until the day the deed was taken back by the bank.
    So call Ray a liar, a thief, whatever you want. Just put yourself in his position before you open your mouth and think about it from a different perspective than what you have been persuaded to believe. Anyone that knows Ray, knows that he would never do anything with intent to hurt someone. He’s very kind hearted and has always looked out for others before he has thought about himself. This whole situation is completely blown out of proportion. The already horrible situation is made into a disaster by none other than your local neighbor Mr. Stein. Anyone that is that cold hearted to kick someone when…

  37. anonymous says:

    they’re down should not be rewarded for that.

  38. Paix says:

    LOL, yeah, let’s read it again…So he went to Huckleberry’s house and asked him if he knew anything about it. “Ray said, ‘You’re kidding, Doug, I can’t believe that!’” recalled Stein.

    Yes, Ray was confused so he lied.

    Honestly, I could care less about the $200. You get a real look at the character of the man. He did not say, “Dougy you had 6 months and here we are 3 years later and I sold the stuff.” Ray lied to his long time friend.

    Ray lied to the guy who held the note on his business, a note Ray had not paid. Did Mr. Stein lock the door and take it back? For more than 6 months he let it go.

    …and in the middle of it Ray sells the man’s stuff without saying a word to him.

    Interesting, too, is this was 3 years into the business relationship. Stein said he was coming and going. If it was all about the 6 months why didn’t Ray sell the stuff earlier?

    He needed money. Friendship did not matter, the courtesy of not shutting Ray down didn’t matter…

  39. Jim B says:

    What a lot of crap being said about the guy who got ripped off. I guess this is Ray coming here to have his say.

    Liars need to resign.

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