Spring Lake/Ferrysburg Police Chief Roger DeYoung said an officer has left several business cards at Dr. Brad Masse's residence on Buena Vista during the past week, but Masse has not responded.
“We're trying to get a statement, but he's been ducking us,” DeYoung said. “It looks almost like he left. I've been driving by his house in uniform and plain clothes. It's always closed up. The night officer said there are never any lights on."
DeYoung said it is possible Masse is just on vacation, and he will give him a few more days to respond.
“If he doesn't respond to us, we'll send it to the prosecutor's office,” the police chief said. “They would review it and possibly issue a warrant for the malicious destruction of property.”
Masse, who lives immediately east of the waterfront park at the end of Alden Street, said he grew tired of apples landing in his yard from two trees growing on the public property, and blocking his view of the waterfront. So, he trimmed the trees several weeks ago.
At the core of the controversy: Masse said he received permission from Village Manager Chris Burns to do the pruning, but Burns said she did no such thing.
When contacted by the Tribune by phone Wednesday afternoon, Masse said he had no interest in commenting, but he did say: “I'd be happy to pay for a polygraph because Chris (Burns) is lying. I'm not commenting anymore.”
The closest of the two tree trunks is about 20 feet from a wrought iron fence along Masse's west property line.
Burns said village staff has given permission in the past for residents to trim branches that overhang on their property, but they must first provide proof of liability insurance.
“There's a protocol that has to be followed,” she said.
Prior to the tree trimming incident, Burns said Masse called her several times and filled out a complaint form.
“He said, 'I pay a lot of money in taxes and it's blocking my view of the sunset,'” Burns recalled. “I told him those trees weren't on our radar and we hadn't budgeted to trim them this season.”
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