GREENVILLE — Two Ada men were charged in Montcalm County today with larceny under false pretenses after allegedly using state grant funds awarded to their Greenville company to issue checks to themselves and employees.
Gardner Klaasen, 46, and David Valdiserri, 48, each face up to 20 years of incarceration for the felony charge.
The two have been under investigation by the Greenville Department of Public Safety since 2012 for the alleged misuse of more than $310,000 they were issued by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) designed to help bring jobs to Michigan. Police say that money was instead used to pay the two suspects, other employees and lavish goods and services.
In their 2009 grant application, the two men — who were acting on behalf of their company Zero1, which established itself in 2009 by registering with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs — claimed they would bring up to 95 manufacturing jobs from overseas to Greenville with the opening of a branch of their company, which was said to produce office furniture, according to the police report. The two men are considered to have business experience in the field.
According to Mark Reiss, Greenville’s director of public safety, Zero1 had an agreement with Clarion, another Greenville company, to produce plastic injected moldings used for the manufacturing of the furniture and would also rent space in Clarion’s facility. Reiss said Clarion was not suspected of any wrongdoing and appeared to have been another victim in the ruse.
See Saturday’s edition of The Daily News for the complete story.