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Judge rules in property scam lawsuit

Rulings made in Jason Ives cases

December 28, 2012
By Jenny Lancour - staff writer ( , Daily Press

Judges in two counties recently issued rulings on a lawsuit in Delta County and two upcoming trials in Menominee County involving a Bark River man serving time in jail.

Jason Bradley Ives, 33, is lodged in Delta County Jail for property scams. Court rulings were recently decided relating to alleged property and construction scams also involving Ives.

In Delta County, Ives filed a lawsuit against James and Kristin Curtice of Gladstone in 2011 for damages he claimed the family did to his home. One month later, the Curtices countersued Ives for $5,000 they claimed he owed them.

On Friday, Delta County District Court Judge Glenn Pearson ordered no action be taken on Ives' lawsuit. He also ordered $5,000 held in escrow be awarded to the Curtices immediately.

Back in September of 2010, Kristin Curtice signed a purchase agreement to buy a home owned by Ives. After living in the house in Bark River, the couple decided not to close the deal because Ives had not fixed major defects as promised.

On Aug. 1, 2011, the family moved out of the home knowing half of their $10,000 down payment would go towards 10 months rent.

That day, Ives nullified their purchase agreement and agreed to refund the couple $5,000 by Aug. 12, 2011.

Later that month, Ives filed a civil complaint against the Curtices for $3,000 worth of damages in the home. Ives amended his complaint in February, increasing the claim amount to $5,000-$25,000.

Following presentation of testimony and evidence during a bench trial, Judge Pearson ruled in favor of the Curtices.

In Menominee County, Ives is being tried on two separate cases involving alleged scams. He is charged with two counts of being an unlicensed residential builder, two counts of larceny by conversion, and two counts of false pretenses.

A trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 25 regarding the construction of a home for Jim and Jeanette Andersen of Bark River. Another jury trial is scheduled to start May 14 regarding a home-remodeling project for Cole and Misty Nehring of Hermansville.

Last week, Menominee County Circuit Court Judge Mary Barglind ruled on several pre-trial motions related to the two upcoming trials.

The judge denied the defense's motion for the trials to take place in another county. Barglind also ruled against Ives' claim that the prosecution gave insufficient information in the complaints against him. She also denied Ives' requests to do away with the district court's judgment to bind over the felonies to circuit court.

Barglind did grant Ives' motion to dismiss the prosecution's habitual offender notices on the Menominee County charges because recent convictions in Delta County occurred after the local complaints were filed.

In May, Ives was convicted of two counts of larceny by conversion $1,000 to $20,000 for not refunding down payments made by two separate parties on the same home the Curtices were planning to buy.

In July, Ives was convicted of one count of larceny by conversion $1,000 to $20,000 for embezzling $7,000 from a couple who paid a $30,000 down payment on his residence and gave him $7,000 to build a garage there. He was later ordered to pay $37,000 restitution.

In a civil case filed in circuit court, Ives' wife, Jennifer Ives, was ordered in September to pay the couple $15,000 towards the $37,000 restitution.

Barglind did rule, if Ives testifies, his Delta County convictions can be used against him in the Menominee County court cases.

The prosecution withdrew a motion to use other evidence of alleged wrongful acts by Ives. A state ruling is pending against Ives on alleged building and occupational code violations on a home he constructed in Rapid River. The Andersens and Nehrings have also filed similar code complaints.

Barglind will allow appraisal testimony on the value of the two Menominee County projects. The prosecution can also use testimony alleging Ives did not pay the full price on the land where the Andersens' home was being built, the judge ruled.

Testimony will be allowed regarding equipment which Ives allegedly used without the owner's permission - equipment which the Andersens paid Ives up front for, according to last week's ruling.

The court document also states, in the home remodeling project trial, testimony will be allowed regarding a $5,000 check found in Ives' home, written out to the "Nehring Job" and signed on the back by Cole Nehring who testified he did not endorse the check.

Regarding the prosecution's request to admit evidence of Ives' casino winnings, Barglind did not deny or grant the motion. She said more information needs to show a connection between Ives' winnings and when he was paid for the home projects.



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