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Tag Archive | "Plainfield Township"

Sand Lake motorcyclist killed in crash


Jonathon David Allan Harden

Jonathon David Allan Harden

A 25-year-old Sand Lake man died last weekend after his motorcycle collided with a pickup truck in Plainfield Township.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, witnesses said that Jonathon David Allan Harden, of the Village of Sand Lake, was headed eastbound on Rogue River Rd near Woodwater Dr, in Plainfield Township, on Saturday, April 8, about 6:45 p.m., when he drifted into the westbound lane for some reason and was struck by a westbound pickup truck.

Harden died at the scene from his injuries.

The driver of the pickup truck, Ryan Dargie, 40, of Rockford, was uninjured. His front seat passenger, Crystal Dargie, 35, of Rockford, sustained a minor hand injury.

Plainfield Fire and Rockford Ambulance assisted at the scene.

Police believe that the motorcyclist was wearing a helmet. The crash is still under investigation. Speed and alcohol are not believed to be factors in this crash.

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Construction impacting White Pine Trail use


From Friends of the White Pine Trail


In the southern area of the tail, in Plainfield Township, there will be trail disruptions during this summer and fall.

In Comstock Park there will be equipment in and adjacent to the trail due to sewer line work for the next few weeks, and possibly into the fall. Please be very careful in this area and do not interfere with the construction activity. If you encounter someone directing you around construction, please follow their directions.

Between Belmont and Rockford there will be some equipment on the trail for the next month or longer.  There will be persons directing traffic whenever there is equipment on the trail – please cooperate with these folks that are doing their best to keep the trail open, you safe, and get the project done. The Trail Will Not Be Closed For Extended Periods in this area unless there are unforseen circumstances.

If you have questions regarding trail conditions please contact us. We will do our best to keep everyone informed.

Check our FaceBook page for up-to-date information.

If you see any problems that you feel needs attention please contact us as soon as possible—we need your help!

In Howard City Area, Montcalm County

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials announced that construction of the Rice and Tamarack Creek bridges on the White Pine Trail in Howard City will begin Monday Aug. 8.

The White Pine Trail is actively utilized by non-motorized users throughout the year and snowmobile users in the winter months. Bridge construction will include abutment replacement and pier removal, as well as the placement of a 60-foot-prefabricated bridge over Rice Creek and a 84-foot-prefabricated bridge over Tamarack Creek.

The White Pine Trail has been temporarily re-routed to Federal Road bypassing both bridges. The detour is posted. Construction is anticipated to be completed in November.

Questions about the trail closure may be directed to Scott Slavin, DNR unit supervisor of White Pine Trail State Park, at 231-775-7911 or slavins@michigan.gov

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Plainfield Township supervisor charged with larceny

Jay Spencer

Jay Spencer

Money “brazenly” diverted to Jay Spencer’s personal use

By Beth Altena

Plainfield Township’s elected supervisor, Jay Spencer, is facing felony charges and a possible 10 years in jail after being charged with felony larceny of over $20,000. Spencer was previously ordered to repay to Jolan Jackson, of Wyoming, $540,000, but had not faced criminal charges in the case. On February 5, Spencer appeared in Wyoming District Court for his arraignment under Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker. He will next appear for a probable cause hearing on February 17 in the same court. Following is the story the Rockford Squire ran in July of 2015, followed by a statement released by Plainfield Township’s Superintendent Cameron VanWyngarden.

In an appeal ruling, Jay Spencer, Plainfield Township’s elected supervisor, was ordered to pay triple the amount of money he diverted from a client’s retirement IRA to a personal account and then spent on himself. In the 17th Circuit Court order of Case Number 13-04271-NZB, the Honorable Christopher P. Yates ruled that Spencer’s March 31, 2015 motion for reconsideration was denied. According to the court records, Spencer used accounts from two different businesses, Mackinac Realty and Mackinac Advisory, to transfer money, closing the first account when funds were depleted and then filing bankruptcy after the ruling against him.

According to court records, plaintiff Jolan Jackson loaned Spencer $241,000 from Jackson’s retirement funds for the “acquisition and rehabbing of several homes” with terms set forth in a “Direction of Investment. A promissory note signed by Spencer June 21, 2011 obligated him to pay back $257,870 within 120 days. “What happened to Plaintiff Jackson’s money differed substantially from the plan Defendant Spencer laid out in his email on June 16, 2011, and confirmed in the promissory note. Specifically, Spencer diverted $180,000 of the funds through America’s One Title Agency to the account of his own company, i.e. Mackinac Realty, in June of 2011. . . bank records for Mackinac Realty Group LLC show wire transfers of $124,000 on June 21 and $56,000 on June 28. . . Spencer spent a substantial share of the money on his own personal expenses. In the end, Jackson never received a payoff on his promissory note. Spencer depleted the funds in the Mackinac Realty account and then closed that account. “

In the next paragraph, the record said on November 13, 2013 Spencer filed for bankruptcy protection. On April 3, 2014, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan authorized Jackson to proceed against Spencer in the case.

In a section titled “Legal Analysis,” the court found Spencer committed both Common Law Conversion, which is any distinct act of domain wrongfully exerted over another’s personal property in denial of or inconsistent with the rights therein (taking someone’s property) and Statutory Conversion, which is “converting property to the other person’s use (taking someone’s property for yourself).”

Plaintiff Jackson asserts that Defendant Spencer engaged in all of those impermissible acts with respect to Jackson’s $241,000. The Court Agrees.”

Bank records establish that Defendant Spencer diverted $180,000 of Plaintiff Jackson’s funds through America’s One Title Agency to Mackinac Realty account on June 21 and 28, 2011. Shortly thereafter Spencer used that Mackinac Realty account to pay for babysitting services, dinners at the Whiskey Lounge, Applebees, Smokey Bones, and other restaurants, animal clinic bills, vehicle repairs at Fox Pontiac/Buick/GMC, mysterious expenses at Beachbody and other charges that had nothing to do with the purchase or rehabilitation of properties. Spencer ran his life out of the Mackinac Realty account, using money that Jackson had entrusted to Mackinac Advisors. In the end, Spencer spent nearly $180,000 of Jackson’s money for expenses not remotely related to Jackson’s investment venture. By July 2012, Spencer had depleted the entire balance in the Mackinac Realty account so the account was closed without any return paid to Jackson for his $241,000 investment or his right to collection on the promissory note. Spencer’s acts constitute a paradigmatic example of conversion.”

In an order dated June 5, 2015 in the same court, it is noted that Spencer directed to the court his assertion in an affidavit that he never used the funds to pay for his personal expenses. “The bank account maintained by [Mackinac Realty] included funds from various business activities which were unrelated to Plaintiffs as well as his own personal funds.” Yates wrote, “This Delphic pronouncement, which blurs the distinction between the sources of the money in the account and the uses to which Spencer put the money in the account, does not undercut the Court’s determination that Spencer plainly poured tens of thousands of dollars of Jackson’s money into that account and then withdrew tens of thousands of dollars from that very same account to pay for his personal expenses.”

Yates said Spencer’s response to the conversion claims “involve a curious admixture of sophistry and fiction (sophistry is the use of fallacious arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving).”First, he suggests that Jackson simply loaned money to Mackinac Advisory in a conventional debtor-creditor relationship, so no conversion claim can exist. Although Jackson may have given his “consent to the creation of a debtor-creditor relationship” with Mackinac Advisory, Jackson never authorized Spencer to exert domain over the IRA funds through Mackinac Realty for Spencer’s own personal use.

Second, Spencer insists that neither he not Mackinac Advisory had any obligation to return the specific funds that Jackson entrusted to Mackinac Advisory, so no claim for conversion can exist.”

Third, Spencer contends that he did not know he had received or concealed stolen, embezzled, or converted property, so no claim for conversion can exist.”

The record belies Spencer’s assertion that he lacked knowledge that Jackson’s IRA funds had been converted. Indeed, Spencer himself committed that conversion by obtaining the funds for Mackinac Advisory and then diverting the funds to Mackinac Realty and, ultimately, to himself.”

In a document Findings of Fact, Conclusion of Law and Verdict dated June 25, 2015, Yates begins with the summation, “Defendant Jay Spencer used his own company, Mackinac Realty Group LLC (Mackinac Realty), as a conduit for conversion of funds that the plaintiff invested with a separate entity called Mackinac Advisory Services LLC (Mackinac Advisory).”

It ordered that Spencer pay $180,000 plus interest for the common-law conversion and $540,000 for the statutory conversion claim, and said Spencer “so flagrantly” used the plaintiff’s funds to pay for his own personal expenses.”

The Court concludes that treble damages are appropriate because Defendant Spencer brazenly took the plaintiff’s money and spent it on his own personal expenses. . . Spencer’s conduct constitutes the most egregious form of statutory conversion.”

During citizen’s comments at the Plainfield Township regular board meeting Monday, July 20, resident Debbie Hagedorn took Spencer to task. She said Spencer was found guilty in the court system and has no business serving as township supervisor. She read the definition of integrity to him and said he has lost the trust of the people who elected him.

Spencer said his attorney has advised him to say as little as possible but he read a brief statement, saying there are two sides to every story and this story is no exception. He said Justice Yates’s decision was based on testimony of several individuals and there were discrepancies in the decision of the court. He said the incident in question was the result of a business deal that went badly and all took place in 2011, before he was elected supervisor. He said the ongoing case does not affect his duties as township supervisor.

Plainfield Township Superintendent Cameron VanWyngarden released the following statement regarding the criminal charges filed against Spencer: “I am aware charges have been filed against and an arrest warrant has been issued for our township supervisor. We are certain that the charge is in no way connected with Plainfield Township public funds, as his role does not give him direct access to those dollars. We will, of course, cooperate with any police investigation. As the supervisor has not been convicted, he is allowed by state law to remain in his position with the Township.”

The next regular meeting of the Plainfield Township Board is Tuesday, February 16 at the Plainfield Township Hall at 7 p.m.

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