Newaygo Co. commissioner-elect facing felony charge

Steven Johnson's mug shot.


NEWAYGO, Mich. (WOOD) – A Newaygo County commissioner-elect is facing a felony charge for damages he allegedly caused to the dealership he used to own and run.

Court records show Steven Johnson is facing a charge of malicious destruction of property with damages from $1,000 to $20,000.

The charges were filed Dec. 26 in Newaygo County District Court. The crime is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

Freedom Chevrolet in Fremont.
(Freedom Chevrolet in Fremont.)

Court records show the charge stems from an incident from March 3 in which Johnson is accused of damaging vehicles at Freedom Chevrolet in Fremont.

Fremont police say 11 vehicles were damaged in the incident, and they used DNA evidence to link Johnson to the crime.

Johnson was once the owner of Freedom Chevrolet and later managed the dealership.

This is one of several incidents of vandalism at the dealership. Fremont police are investigating, though they are not saying if Johnson is a suspect in those crimes, as well.

Johnson was arrested in Kent County on Dec. 27 and posted bond. Court officials are not yet sure when Johnson will appear in court to be arraigned.

Johnson has sat on a number of boards and commissions in Newaygo County. In November, he was elected to represent the 2nd District on the Newaygo County Board of Commissioners.

Johnson’s election is so far not in question.

“At this point, he’s no different than any other commissioner,” said Newaygo County Administrator Tobi Lake.

He declined to comment further on the matter.

If Johnson is convicted of a felony charge, the governor could choose to unseat him.

When 24 Hour News 8 went to Johnson’s home Wednesday seeking comment, he did not appear to be home.

Because of his position, the case is being handled by the Mecosta County prosecutor.

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