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City Councilor convicted of larceny

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.

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45 Responses to “City Councilor convicted of larceny”

  1. Paix says:

    What I said in the article in June turns out to be right. “What always stuns me about Ray is the level of unaware arrogance he possesses. He is someone who believes himself infallible and yet is entirely unaware of it. It is like a King who has always been catered and bowed to and simply does not contemplate his choices and the impact they can have on the people around him.”

    It is just inconceivable that Ray Huckleberry did anything wrong to Ray Huckleberry.

    A respected man who knows the law, who is a skilled lawyer, who has been repeatedly elected to the bench and earned a stellar reputation for fairness in Northern Kent County for more years than Mr. Huckleberry has been alive listens to the case and finds Mr. Huckleberry guilty and still he cannot conceive his errors.

    On Huckleberry’s side when the victim found his property missing, Huckleberry lied to the man, who has been a friend of his family since before Huckleberry was born. When the police got involved he was…

  2. Mitch says:

    What a scum. Who is supporting this convicted criminal to sit on our Council? Hey HUCKLESCUM, who are your supporters?

  3. Abe Meir says:

    Gee, Huckleberry, thanks for proving once again that criminals have no honor.

    Go away, let Council pick someone who is not on probation.

  4. Paix says:

    Yeah I would like to know who supports this guy. Yes we want a criminal who has a probation officer on Council.

  5. Mitch says:

    Maybe his probation officer is one of his supporters? There must be a bunch of other criminals in Cedar to vote for this guy.

    Oh yeah, felons can’t vote.

  6. CedarDan says:

    I wonder who he was bragging to on Council? I would like to know who those people are? I’d like the Post to talk to the people on the Council and get them on the record.

    He can also tell us who is supporting him now that he is guilty of this crime.

    I have a feeling if this is looked into, the Post will find the Detective is telling the truth and Mr. Huckleberry is lying.

  7. Charlie Towns says:

    This whole thing is a sad day for cedar springs. This guy is not on the same level as kilpatrick in Detroit so lets put it in perspective here. He made a bad judgement call, and then tried to cover it up out of embarrassment. He should not be tar’ed an feathered for it! He does however own at a minimum the community of Cedar Springs an apology as well as Doug Stein. He should consider stepping down at least for the rest of this term. The fact that none of you want to admit is this: If he would run again today he would win! and why is this?!?! Because none of you show up to vote in the city elections!!! Would it not be Ironic if Ray’s mistake ended up being the thing that made people actually participate in the civic process!?!? Maybe we could break the 20% voter turn out barrier. It is amazing the people who complain that Cedar is the “Armpit of America” never try to fix the problem by voting. Hey if you out there want him to resign maybe you should write city hall, what no, oh ya…

  8. Charlie Towns says:

    (continued)

    to much effort for you huh! The fact that no one wants to admit is that City hall is a product of The average Cedar Springs voter being lazy, 2% of the Community makes 100% of the civic contribution, and that is why he will stay.

  9. Paix says:

    No this is not Kwame, but why do you insist on giving this crook the benefit of the doubt, Charlie?

    He lied to Mr. Stein’s face. He lied to the police. He told the Detective other people had access to his Ebay account. Do you think this is embarrassment? Not only did he lie, but he was willing to let the cops look at other actual human beings. I think you are being far too kind to a petty thief who does not care if someone else took the fall for his actions.

    Now it’s gotten back to the police that he is bragging about being “vindicated.” It was clear from the trial how dishonest this guy is, the only question was whether the loophole he created was going to be accepted by the Court. Even if he won, he still would have been a thief for what he did to his friend by lying to him and selling his stuff without saying so much as a word to him.

    Ray still has not figured out that he is a liar, he is a thief, and he is someone who is willing to put a criminal investigation onto…

  10. Paix says:

    …his employees.

    His own testimony shows us his real character. The testimony and comments of the Detective and Mr. Stein shows just how sleazy Mr. Huckleberry is.

    I am not sure how you give him a pass, my friend. What is at work here is far more than embarrassment. I mean, I guess I could see myself not being helpful to the cops if I were in his shoes, but I sure would not try to put them onto someone else by saying other people have access to the Ebay account. I mean what if the cops screwed up and tagged one of his employees with this crime?

    Sorry, I think he needs to be firmly condemned.

  11. Abe Meir says:

    Here is the issue. If he is guilty than he got his wife to lie for him. She committed perjury. How do you throw your wife into the middle of your crime?

  12. Mitch says:

    “my reputation stands for itself”

    I wonder if that works with his probation officer?

    RESIGN

  13. DonnaB says:

    it is pretty funny the mayor does not mind sitting on Council with a criminal.

    The Post is doing a great job on this story, the Press mangled the story all the way around.

    I used to work for this guy. He is all about boozing and I think that had a lot to do with his business failing.

  14. CedarDan says:

    I agree it is time to get out of town!

  15. Paix says:

    Huckleberry tried to toss everyone under the bus. The justice system worked.

  16. DonnaB says:

    I keep waiting to see who is backing up the criminal councilman?

    ANYONE want this guy on Council anymore?

  17. CedarDan says:

    NOT ME! I really cannot figure this guy. He is a real piece of work separate from the conviction. How do you do this to your friends and then tell the Court it is wrong?

  18. Paix says:

    Ray Huckleberry continues to fool Ray Huckleberry. First, he lies to his friend, then the police. He is convicted oddly enough after admitting what a liar he is and it appears he commits perjury on the stand in a vain effort to save his, “reputation” and now he thinks he has a technicality that helps him win on appeal.

    Here is my bet, he does not even appeal. He’ll have a pathetic excuse for not appealing and he’ll declare his reputation good.

  19. Mitch says:

    His rep is now corrected. Convicted thief, arrogant council man who does not give a rip about the people who elected him to office.

    Go away RAY

  20. DonnaB says:

    He won’t go until he is run out of town.

  21. Paix says:

    I hear he is separated from Mrs. Huckleberry. I wonder if he has already not been run out of town.

  22. DonnaB says:

    I wonder if he still lives in the city?

  23. Charlie Towns says:

    “I hear he is separated from Mrs. Huckleberry.”

    The guy is wrong, he has been convicted of a crime. He should at a MINIMUM say he is sorry to the City. But are we really going to go this low?!?! He and his wife’s relationship have NOTHING to do with his crime. Why even bring it up? This paix, is why I say it is something personal.

  24. Paix says:

    Dude, it is on his Facebook that he is single. He publicized it, first and since he has friended the Post, it is hardly a secret.

    http://www.facebook.com/people/Raymond-Huckleberry/1019858308#!/profile.php?id=1019858308

    I bring it up because he really has no place to stay in Cedar Springs if he is not living with Mrs. Huckleberry. If he is not living in the town maybe there is another issue to address with this guy, you know like, hey dude are you even qualified to be a Council member? Has he changed his address?

    What is it with you and your wanting to make this all personal? I mean you are wrong over and over and over and still you persist in your uninformed nonsense.

    And he owes an apology first to Mr. Stein, then the City, then he should hand in his resignation.

  25. Paix says:

    You can to cut and paste the whole thing, the link picked up only part of the whole address.

  26. DonnaB says:

    This is something that should be asked about a guy who keeps lying. he put it on his facebook that is on him.

  27. Abe says:

    This is what I read on his facebook page. Not much of a class act for an elected official.

    “There are only two types of people I don’t like: Sober people when I’m drunk and drunk people when I’m sober.”

    “I like being the center of attention and will make a fool of myself if it makes others laugh.”

    Is making a fool of the entire city of Cedar Springs just part of what we get to make people laugh.

  28. Charlie Towns says:

    I love how facebook is now a reliable source of information! You don’t think he may have checked the single block by accident.

  29. Paix says:

    Yeah, I am so sure that is what happened. Like I said you have this need to defend this guy; apparently now to the exclusion of reality. If one of his 408 friends did not notice he is not really single, I do not think I will question it.

    Let’s ignore all the other ignorant comments he posts for the world to see.

  30. Charlie Towns says:

    Even if they are separated I am sure he has worked it out.
    I am not sure exactly how the law reads. I know that in order to be on the counsel you must be a resident of the city. Meaning you must “maintain a residence.” I am not sure technically what that means. For example a couple of years ago there was someone on the Nelson Township counsel who lived in the city limits of Cedar. But, he owned a second house in the township. Depending on how the law is written could allow someone to hold a seat if they have property in town. Perhaps I should run for a counsel seat from here in Mannheim Germany. I own a house in the city limits and pay taxes. Could I count on your vote paix?

  31. Paix says:

    ONCE AGAIN HOW IS IT YOU ARE SURE? From the time of his arrest you have defended this guy with no evidence. The law sets out what a residence is and Ray Huckleberry does not have cash to have two houses.

    Owning property does not make you a resident. The valid question is, “If you are single Ray Huckleberry doe you continue to live in the City of Cedar Springs?”

    I doubt I would take the word of someone who apparently does not understand how dishonest he really is.

    If you are in the military you could run for Council. You have a bad habit of being too trusting, but in time you come around; and you get major extra points from me if you are in the service…at least we could count on honorable service from you. Too many goof balls on Council now.

  32. Charlie Towns says:

    No I am not sure. That is why I said that it needed to be researched out. But all this is pure speculation anyway that he is living outside the city limits. Again it could just be a mistake on Facebook. I would rather go by legal documents than a social networking site. I do know of people who have a house in Nelson Twp but live in Cedar Springs who have sat on the Nelson TWP counsel (or what ever it is called). That is the only reason I bring it up.

  33. Paix says:

    I was looking for the exact law, I read it over many times when Judge Servaas was having his problems.

    It is not based on what you own, it is based on where you sleep most often. Huckleberry can continue to have an interest in his home in Cedar Springs, but live some where else. Legally somewhere else becomes his principl residence for voting and his driver’s license. In fact, if he does not change his driver’s license that is a misdemeanor.

    The Facebook page raises the question, now Huckleberry should answer the question. I note his wife Laura is not among his 400 plus “friends” on Facebook.

    As for the separation, checked the Kent County Circuit Court. It is Case # 10-06698-DM filed July 2, 2010.

    Also found he apparently does not have a driver’s license and is trying to get it back Case # 10-08293-AL

    I wonder how he lost his license? Well someone else can call over to the District Court on that one.

  34. Paix says:

    Odd, the driver’s license issue was filed just today. Amazing how fast this stuff gets to the County website. District Court is not online with their records, so who knows what is going on with his driver’s license.

  35. Abe Meir says:

    Looks like his license is revoked. This is going to be based on tickets in District Court.

    I’m not going to say what may be the obvious because I think if he was arrested on other charges the Post would have reported on it, unless they just did not know.

    Maybe it is time for a little investigative reporting by the great folks at the Cedar Springs Post. Questions loom, does Mr. Huckleberry still live in Cedar Springs, if so where? Has he been arrested on other charges, if so what? How is it he has lost his license?

  36. DonnaB says:

    Yeah what you are wondering is if he’s a drunk driver. Someone should find out.

  37. Charlie Towns says:

    I stand corrected. It would appear as thought his facebook is right. I guess we fundementally have differnt ideas about what is fair play to call him on. I see it as him having suffered enough loosing face in front of the whole norther Kent County. I really think even though this has been brought on by his own actions there is a time to let up on someone. Politically the guy is probably done (at least for the next election cycle). If he stays on the Counsel it is only short term. I just don’t see the point in making a huge issue of it. But like I say, we see things differntly.

  38. Paix says:

    Cedar Springs has suffered for year with bizarre leadership. Ray Huckleberry was supposed to be the start of new blood. Now we will surely turn back to the sad people who for too long held the town back. He broke the public trust and now sits in office as if he owns it.

    He has not apologized to Mr. Stein or the City. He just says he is right. Setting aside the criminal issue, he lied to someone who was a good friend.

    The people deserve better.

    And where is he living now? Is he even qualified to hold office. What is going on with his license, that usually comes from DUI, right? It is too early for them to take his license for not paying child support.

    Are their convictions we don’t know about?

  39. DonnaB says:

    Does The Post read these postings? Does he still live in Cedar? Did he change his address as required by law? Why doesn’t he have a license? Are there are other arrests out there?

  40. Administrator says:

    Yes the Post reads these postings because we have to approve them.
    Some of the postings recently border on libel, and while we know that some of you have strong feelings about the Huckleberry case, we ask that everyone refrain from posting accusations that are untrue or that you cannot prove, or we will delete them. And that you refrain from name calling. We also reserve the right to edit postings if necessary. Soon we will be posting some guidelines for posting comments that are similar to other news agencies.
    This forum is not for gossip. You can always email us if there is something important we need to check out.
    Regarding Ray’s living in the city, there is nothing to report. He is still living at the same address. We are checking on the other matter.

  41. DonnaB says:

    “Ray’s living in the city”? That is pretty personal? How do you know he lives in the city? Did the Mrs move out? Did you take his word for it, you know a guy the judge criticized as a liar?

    First of all let’s stop pretending the team sitting around the big table in the clutter packed office that is the Cedar Springs Post has a bunch of lawyers sitting around deciding what is libel.

    Be honest when you tell us you will start to censor us and call it what it is, do not declare what is libel. People are entitled to their opinions, no matter how vile, and “Ray” is a public figure. If he wants to avoid criticism he can resign and stop being a public figure.

    Maybe it is uncomfortable for The Post to follow the interests of its readers, but you have more comments on Ray Huckleberry than any story you’ve done in nearly a year. Maybe it is time to start digging instead of criticizing and judging your readers.

  42. Laura Huckleberry says:

    Just to clarify everything, yes, we are in the process of a divorce. Ray still lives at the same address and we both live in the city limits. Please refrain from debating our personal life on here, that is none of your business beyond his residence requirement for remaining on the city council.

  43. Administrator says:

    The Post checked with the court regarding the case filed last week for “driver’s license restoration” for Raymond Huckleberry.
    According to the court, his appeal for the larceny conviction was filed last week, and there was a coding error that resulted in it showing the wrong description. The court confirmed for me that it was indeed his petition to appeal.

  44. lori says:

    Thank you Laura. I’m sorry to hear of your divorce and agree with you that this is personal business. Administrator – thank you for clairfying the issues and bringing it full circle to the relevant facts.

  45. Kathy says:

    Ray is a public figure. A prosecutor would be hard pressed to bring charges of libel against citizen’s comments. If that were the case most politicians would be in jail.
    When an elected official is found guilty of a crime in their public or personal life the honorable thing to do would be to step down. Once convicted, the person has lost credibility and the public trust and, I believe, the right to represent taxpayers. Personally I had hoped that there was a good explanation and gave Ray the benefit of the doubt but in the news reports it was clear that the judge and the detectives, along with the “family friend”, all believed Ray was lying and was in fact guilty. Because of the guilty charge there will always be doubt in many minds about whether he can, in fact, be trusted in a position that requires public trust.

    There has been a lot of corruption in the leadership in Cedar Springs, as was mentioned previously, and in the not so distant past, and this situation…

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