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Politics & Government

Another Kent County Commissioner facing felony charge resigns

A Kent County commissioner is resigning. Michael Wawee Jr is facing a felony embezzlement charge for between $1,000 and $20,000, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Wawee announced his resignation Thursday. The Republican from the Grand Rapids suburb of Walker was arrested earlier this month.

He's accused of overcharging families for the engraving of grave markers while working as a salesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids. Police say the diocese was not aware of the overcharging.

Wawee announced his resignation to the board in a written statement:

“In this country, we’re blessed enough to have a judicial system where we are innocent until proven guilty. That being said, I need to focus my energy on my family and proving my innocence. That unfortunately means I will not be able to dedicate the time necessary to represent my constituents on the County Commission.”

The Kent County board will replace Wawee by the end of March.

This is the second Kent County commissioner the board has had to replace this year. Another commissioner facing multiple felony counts for criminal sexual conduct resigned last month.

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