Councilman facing arson charges

September 30, 2014

By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

HESPERIA —  Hesperia Village Councilman David Sean Pates, 32, a co-owner of the Hesperia House restaurant, turned himself in to authorities this afternoon for allegedly setting his own restaurant on fire last spring.

Pates was recently arrested in North Carolina, and local law enforcement officials were waiting for an Oct. 1 hearing to see whether or not he was going to waive extradition.

“Mr. David Sean Pates has just turned himself in at the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office on the outstanding warrant charging him with arson from the fire in the Hesperia House fire from earlier this year,” stated Lt. Craig Mast this afternoon.

Pates is being charged with third-degree arson, which is a 10-year felony, and preparing to burn real property, a five-year felony.

The OCSO issued a two-count felony warrant for Pates at the end of August for allegedly committing arson to the restaurant last April.

The restaurant, which is still standing, has not been open for business since the alleged arson occurred, the night of April 29, said Mast. Hesperia House is located at 205 S. Division St. in the village limits.

“It was deemed that both fires were not naturally occurring,” Mast said. “There was no link of connection between the two fires.” There was a time difference of a few hours between the two fires, Mast said.

Investigators immediately became suspicious of the blaze, because there were two separate fires in a hallway area inside the building, Mast said. The alleged arson was investigated by Deputy Jeff Brown, a fire expert for the Oceana County Fire Investigation Team, as well as experts for the restaurant’s insurance company.

The restaurant sustained “considerable smoke damage,” Mast said, and no injuries occurred from the blaze.

Village President Jim Smith said Sept. 18 that Pates remained on the council and stated that the council cannot legally take any action to have him removed from his position with the village. “That is up to the governor (of Michigan),” Smith said.

Smith said Sept. 18 that he did not have any attendance records available from previous meetings.

According to the Oceana County Directory, Pates was appointed last November to a partial term on the council that expires in November of 2016, and he will be up for re-election on the upcoming November ballot.

This story is brought to you by Springstead Law Offices, with locations in Hart and Fremont, 231-873-4022 (Hart), www.springsteadlaw.com

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