Brandon Hall faces charges

A Grand Haven man has been charged with 10 counts of election law forgery following an investigation by the state attorney general’s office.
Becky Vargo
May 29, 2013


Brandon Hall was arraigned on the felony charges in 58th District Court on May 22.

The investigation centered on fraudulent signatures on a ballot petition for a Grand Haven attorney, Chris Houghtaling, who was running for a vacant judge seat in Ottawa County's 58th District Court last year. Houghtaling was removed from the ballot after the signatures were flagged by the attorney general’s office.

Judicial candidates had to submit a required number of signatures from registered voters in the county by May 1, 2012, to be on the primary ballot the following August. Some of Houghtaling’s ballot petition signatures were deemed invalid, and he fell below the required number of 1,000 to get his name on the ballot, election officials said.

According to an article by the MIRS News service, the circulator at the center of the ballot controversy is former Grand Haven school board member Brandon Hall.

Hall resigned from the school board in 2010 after being convicted of stealing several hundred dollars from a Grand Haven Area Public Schools fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

The MIRS News article said Hall signed his name as the circulator for nearly half of Houghtaling’s 90 petition pages, and the penmanship is similar on many of the signature pages.

“It appeared that one or more individuals signed multiple times under different names,” Secretary of State spokesman Fred Woodhams said in the article.

Houghtaling said on Tuesday that he was not aware that Hall had been charged, but he was optimistic that the courts would reach the right decision in the case and that justice would be served.

“I’m certainly disappointed in my decision to allow Brandon to work on my campaign," Houghtaling said, "or to assist in getting signatures.”

Houghtaling declined to comment further, saying he had an obligation as an attorney not to try to influence the court process.

Houghtaling said he does not rule out seeking another elected office in the future.

"I'm cooperating in the ongoing investigation," Hall said. "I have no further comment at this time."

A conference between attorneys in Hall's case scheduled for Tuesday morning was postponed at the defendant’s request so that he could find a new attorney, said Joy Yearout, spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office. Once the conference is held, a preliminary examination on the charges will be scheduled, she said.

Tribune reporter Alex Doty contributed to this story.



Brandon your 15 minutes is up, time to find a real job and get on with life. You have burnt your bridges repeatedly at this point and I doubt seriously that anybody in the political arena is interested in you grabbing on to coat tails. You seem to have a very distorted view of right and wrong, I will be surprised if you don't end up in prison at some point; of course you will be the victim.


Mr. Houghtaling was one of those who wanted to recall Hall from the Grand Haven School Board. Why would he ever trust this creep to circulate his petition?


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Libel and defamation.


Wow Mrs. Hall, me thinks you protest to much; Brandon is a thief, a liar, and a cheat, everybody knows it, regardless of what involvement Chris might have in this. If you want to support someone, find someone of good moral character, Brandon is not that someone.


2 types of people never change. Criminals and idiots. Brandon, same ole same ole. Chris Houghting, congrats on being the village idiot. If he is ever elected for anything, I would be shocked


Brandon Hall is an absolute lying, scandalous thief. You would think after stealing from the cancer society this guy would have learned his lesson, but apparently not. And Chris Houghtaling knew Brandon was a crook well before having him run around petitioning for his name on that ballot, (seeing as Chris was trying to have Hall recalled from the school board). Chris Is just as much of a liar as Brandon.. It's unfortunate that either of these guys are involved with our community.


Why is Chris Houghtaling getting involved with Brandon Hall in the first place? He stood in front of Judge Kloote and said Hall was a threat to the community! I think this story is just heating up. Also, what ongoing investigation is Hall referring to? Get to the bottom of this Tribune!


imagine that a dem cheatinging an election.


Hall is a RABID repub......


Hall and Houghtaling are both Republicans


Sometimes someone has a really horrible doesn't excuse the individual, but it can shed light on how someone can travel down a path to self destruction. When all is said and done though, it comes down to choices. If someone chooses to take the wrong path they need to learn from their mistakes.........if they don't, they deserve to go to jail.


Lying and stealing is just laying the foundation for a good political career. Getting caught repeatedly is a sign that maybe your interactions with the publc should be limited to asking "Would you like fries with that?" I apologize to any fast food workers insulted by the idea that this fool is honest and reliable enough to do their job. He really isn't.


Ya James, I think you are headed in the right direction but the whole "with fries" thing might be too much for Brandon. First off, he can't be around money, AT ALL, second, he would be stealing food from everybody's order. I'm thinking digging ditches or pounding rocks would best fit his ability and character. He could also scrape scum off the bottom of boats, but how would we tell him from the scrapings; he'd be in camouflage.


Sorry for the repeated posts here but Brandon is so dense that unless we tell him very clearly he won't get it. Hey Brandon, do you realize that you are not wanted in Grand Haven or the Tri-Cities area? As soon as the judge will allow you to travel, how about leaving and not coming back? Clear enough for you; you sniveling SOB! I'm guessing deep Mississippi would be a good start, they'll catch on to you too, but it might take awhile. Find a guy with a sheet and a hood and ask to be buddies.


lol but so true


Fast food is out for Brandon. If you remember, part of the money that went missing from the fund raiser he admitted he spent at McDonalds


Remember when he ran for State Rep? He did get 370 or so votes. Thats alot of friends or maybe his senior class size. Maybe he could go work on "K" street. K Street is the equivalent of wall street for retired congressman turned activist. Salaries usually start at 1.8 million. Brandon just provides such great entertainment. Gets people revved up when there is boredom.


Am I the only one questioning Houghtaling's involvement? I can't believe that Hall would forge signatures for this individual out of the goodness of his heart.


Beach person, of course you aren't the only one putting the evil eye on Chris, it's just that he hasn't been charged with anything yet; give it time. Brandon on the other hand is a confirmed scum bag so he is fair game for public scrutiny.


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