Raymond Huckleberry says he will not resign
By Judy Reed
Cedar Springs City Councilor Raymond Huckleberry was convicted Monday of larceny over $200 but less than $1,000. Judge Steven Servaas delivered the verdict about seven weeks after Huckleberry took his chances with a non-jury trial.
“I’m disappointed, I don’t agree with it,” noted Huckleberry, the former owner of Stein Brother’s pizza, who admitted selling some of the valuables stored on the second floor of the building of the business. Those items belonged to his landlord and long-time family friend, Doug Stein.
At issue in the trial was whether ownership of the goods reverted to Huckleberry because Stein had not removed them by the end of the 180 days set forth in the buy/sell agreement for the business. Stein told the court that he and Huckleberry had an oral agreement that he could store them there as long as he liked. Servaas felt that Huckleberry and Stein probably did have an oral agreement, and told him so at the trial on June 4.
Servaas sentenced him to one year probation, $450 in court costs, $150 in probation costs, and restitution to Stein, which has not yet been determined.
Huckleberry said he has no intention of resigning his city council seat, because this had nothing to do with city business. “I fully believe I’m in the right,” he said.
Detective E.J. Johnson disagrees. “I understand he was going to council meetings saying he was going to be vindicated. The judge felt he was lying through the trial and so did I, and I don’t feel he should be in a position of trust,” he said.
According to Mayor Charlie Watson, there is nothing in the charter that allows them to remove someone who has committed a misdemeanor. Only if a person commits a felony do they have means to do that. And even then, the mayor can only request it, and they can then go to the governor if the person refuses. He also said that he would not be commenting publicly because it is not city business.
Huckleberry said comments he has received from the public have been positive. “The comments that I’ve received in the grocery store and on the street have been supportive of me, and still relate to the comment I gave originally, which was that my reputation stands for itself. I’ve served this community since I was a little kid. They know me,” he noted.
Huckleberry said that he couldn’t comment on specifics of the case because he is still considering whether to appeal.