Garber case moving forward

John Garber

John Garber

MANISTEE — The felony embezzlement case against former Manistee Department of Public Works director Jack Garber remained unresolved on Monday as the parties move forward toward a trial.

Garber, 62, of Manistee faces the following charges in Manistee County’s 19th Circuit Court:

• Embezzlement by a public official, punishable by 10 years in prison or a $5,000 fine;

• Embezzlement of between $1,000 and $20,000, punishable by five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine or three times the amount embezzled, whichever is greater; and

• Safe keeping of public money, a misdemeanor punishable by two years in prison or a $1,000 fine.

The investigation conducted by the Michigan State Police alleges that Garber sold City of Manistee scrap metal and did not turn over the proceeds of the sales to the city treasurer. He retired as DPW director in April 2013 amid an investigation regarding his official duties. He started working with the city in 1971.

The case is scheduled for an Aug. 4 final status conference and an Aug. 6 trial date, though Judge James Batzer said he wasn’t optimistic that the trial date would hold because of an already busy court docket for the summer.

Garber’s attorney Mark Quinn, of Manistee,indicated at a conference on Monday that he is deciding whether or not he wants to challenge a search warrant in the case, and stated that he would like the court to hear a motion to quash, which is a request to a court to render a previous decision of that court or a lower judicial body null or invalid.

Garber was bound to circuit court in May following a five-hour probable cause hearing in Manistee County’s 85th District Court in which several City of Manistee employees testified about the alleged scrap metal practices.

Special prosecutor to the case, Mason County prosecutor Paul Spaniola, indicated on Monday that he would seek to admit similar-acts evidence. Spaniola was appointed in the case by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office at the request of Manistee County Prosecutor Ford Stone due to a conflict of interest.

Lastly on Monday, Quinn indicated that the trial may be a bench trial rather than a jury trial, and Spaniola said he may object and ask for a jury trial. Batzer said the court would rule on the request if the issue arises.

3 comments on “Garber case moving forward

  1. avatarSnoMan

    I understand that this has been done for years, even before Mr Garber, for the employees Christmas party. It doesn’t necesarily make it right but several employees benefited from it. For the little bit of money involved how much is this costing the city taxpayers. It smells a little bit like a personal vendetta against Mr Garber for some reason or another.

  2. avatarmanimi

    Jack just wouldn’t retire to make room for Mikula and this is what happened. I wonder too how much the Ludington PA is being paid from a city that says it has no money.

  3. avatarqueenie007

    This appears to be a personal vendetta by someone who has a grudge against Jack. Jack loved his job and did it well for so many years. Why would he do something like this? Certainly not for personal gain.
    Anyone could have picked up the metal and sold it. It was not the property of the city, it was the property of the homeowners who wished to be rid of it.

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