Veterans face eviction, possibly prosecution over cigarette sales

Veteran kicked out speaks up

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Four veterans facing eviction from the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans say they weren’t selling cigarettes for profit. 

They say they were just trying to provide cigarettes to other smokers in the home at a more affordable price.

“We were just doing it as a favor for the veterans here at the home,” explains Jeff, one of the vets facing eviction.

►Related: 4 residents kicked out of Grand Rapids Home for Veterans

Every month Jeff says they were importing about 170 cartons of untaxed cigarettes from an Indian reservation in New York. They sold them by the pack to others in the home for veterans for about half the retail price in Michigan.  They ignored staff warnings to stop and now face eviction and possible prosecution.

“The money we sold the cigarettes for, we would always put right back in,” says Jeff.  “Yes we did something illegal.  But it was for the veterans.  People here at the home we were supplying.”

Michigan State Police are investigating the situation and will forward their findings to the attorney general -- prosecution is possible

The veterans can appeal their eviction, but as things stand now they are scheduled for what staff calls "safe placement" somewhere else early in September.

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