City seeks to padlock ‘nuisance' home, cites illegal gambling and liquor sales

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - The city is asking a Kent County judge to padlock a Southeast Side home that’s been the subject of numerous complaints and two raids where evidence of illegal gambling and alcohol sales was found.

The home at 448 Delaware Street east of Madison Avenue SE constitutes a “public nuisance’’ under a 1961 state law, according to the civil suit filed by the city of Grand Rapids in Kent County Circuit Court.

Homeowner John Freeman is accused of letting the property be used for illegal gambling and alcohol sales.  The city is asking Kent County Circuit Court Judge Donald A. Johnston to order the house cleared and padlocked for up to one year.

The house “has a general reputation as a place where people engage in illegal gambling, sell/purchase intoxicating liquor and beer and/or use controlled substances,’’ Assistant City Attorney Patrick J. Lannen wrote in the civil complaint.

During a police raid in January, 2011, officers collected a card table and craps table, dice and a dice cup, multiple decks of playing cards, $2,157 in cash, a marijuana ‘blunt,’ approximately 60 cans of beer and four bottles of Absolut vodka, court records show.

 About 20 people were ticketed for frequenting an illegal business, the lawsuit says.  “Multiple subjects on the property admitted that the premises was used as a gambling house for cards and craps,’’ the lawsuit claims. Grand Rapids police notified Freeman about the raid and arrests, the city says.

Grand Rapids police raided the home in late August, recovering a card shuffler, decks of playing cards, 14 dice, a card table and a second table with a dice cup used for playing craps, court records show.

A tenant of the home “admitted he ran a gambling table and a crap table and was aware of multiple complaints regarding the home,’’ court records show. He also admitted that he received a $5 cut from every pot and “made illegal sales of beer from the two locked refrigerators in the kitchen.’’

Between Jan. 2011 and Aug. 2016, there have been more than 20 police investigations focused on the house involving offenses that include attempted murder, assault, car theft and noise complaints.

A majority of the complaints “appear to be related to the use of this property as a location for gambling and/or use and sale of illegal intoxicants and/or controlled substances,’’ according to the lawsuit.

(© 2016 WZZM)


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