By BETH ALTENA 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 business, 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 promisory 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 promisory 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 promisory 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 Converstion, 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 […]
By BETH ALTENA A month-long string of car thefts left law enforcement frustrated until Plainfield Township staff looked out of the township office window to see culprits rooting around in staff vehicles mid-morning Monday, July 20. According to Cameron Van Wyngarden, Township Superintendent, it was before noon when someone in the township office saw four individuals rooting around in staff member’s personal vehicle. They quickly called 911, and an employee in the Assessing Department ran out of the building to confront the thieves. The subjects ran away, chased by employee Phillip Wall down the White Pine Trail. Van Wyngarden categorized the decision to break into township staff vehicles right in plain sight “very brazen.” “This wasn’t their first adventure,” he said. The thefts prompted the Plainfield Township Community Police Officer, Mandy Trevino, was implementing a “lock it or loose it” campaign to remind people to lock their car doors. “These were crimes of opportunity. If the car was locked they move along.” He said he had heard people were not locking their cars, choosing to risk losing items rather than have their windows smashed in. According to Kent County Sheriff Lieutenant Marc Burns, all four minor suspects (under age 17) were caught and interviewed and subsequently confessed to more than 50 larcenies of car, homes and other thefts. They targeted Wyoming, Kentwood, the City of Grand Rapids and Cedar Springs using the White Pine Trail as a corridor. Burns said the youths were targeting cash and electronics and only broke into unlocked cars. The day’s events proved law enforcement advice was sound, since the vehicles the culprits were stealing from were all unlocked and locked ones left alone. According to Van Wyngarden, Wall took the initiative to attempt to apprehend the suspects and later helped law enforcement identify them. His decision to chase the suspects and thereby get a good look at them ultimately resulted in their apprehension.
Dear Editor, As a mother of two young women and the owner of Kimberly’s Boutique in downtown Rockford, I want to defend any store owner who reports a shop lifting experience (with a reputable witness) to the proper authorities. I will also defend strongly our police department, who execute their training to assist the victim of a crime. It might surprise many to know that thousands of dollars in merchandise is stolen from downtown Rockford stores by your sons, daughters, moms, dads, aunts and uncles. It does not matter the size, weight, color, or value of an item. It is an item stolen. It is against the law! What would you have the police officers do but investigate to protect the victim. This is not a “witch hunt,” but normal police procedures. None of us should presume to advise the police professionals how to execute their job. Shame on you for the mention of race. Shame on you for mentioning the unknown value of the item as if that should make a difference. If my children were continually let down and disappointed with coaches, teachers, shop owners and other authority figures, as you stated they were, I would look within myself to see if the guidance I was giving was appropriate. That much disappointment for any one child is not normal. Look to that child and teach them that life isn’t always fair. Sometimes they are at fault. Teach them common sense (if there is any left in our world). Teach them truth, trust, discretion, responsibility and reason. We all need to erase the “I know my rights,” “I want it now,” “Someone else is to blame,” and “I’m a victim” mentality. While you are raising your children, give the rest of us a break – we, too, are trying to do our best. Kimberly Smith, her family and staff