Jan. 11 2016 11:56 AM

Mover pleads ‘no contest’ to state charge in District Court

Jae Burnham, owner of U Save Moving and Storage appeared Monday before 54 A District Court Judge Hugh Clarke, Jr. Burnham entered a 'no contest' plea to charge he operated his moving company without authority from the state, a criminal misdemeanor. He's back in court Feb. 11 for sentencing, a bond revocation hearing and a hearing on a civil ticket regarding alleged violations of the city's zoning laws.
Todd Heywood/City Pulse

MONDAY. Jan. 11 – Residents of Wabash Road in Lansing won another victory today over a mover whose business they say has disrupted their lives.

Jae Burnham, 45, owner and operator of U Save Moving and Storage Co., pleaded “no contest” in District Court for violating a state criminal law related to licensing and authority to run a moving business — in essence a guilty plea.

State Police cited Burnham in November for running his company without authority from the state of Michigan. That’s a criminal misdemeanor with punishment of up to 93 days in jail and or a $500 fine.

Under an agreement reached with the Ingham County prosecutor’s office, Burnham pleaded no contest on the condition there would be no immediate jail time. Burnham will be back before Judge Hugh Clarke Jr. on Feb, 11 to learn what is sentence will be, but Clarke made it clear that Burnham needed to be prepared to pay $1,125 in fines and fees.

But Burnham’s troubles are not over. The City of Lansing cited him Dec. 30 for operating a business in violation of the city zoning ordinances. That civil charge could result in Burnham’s bond being revoked — something Clarke threatened on multiple occasions today in court.

Neighbors sent numerous photos of Burnham’s Budget rental trucks parked on his property — some taken this morning.

“As a condition of your bond,” Clarke told him, “those trucks are not to be parked there as long as this matter is pending.”

Burnham’s attorney, Lauren Elster, asked if he could have the trucks in the driveway when loading equipment for moves. Clarke told her no.

“I’m warning you: If those trucks are there, I’m just going to have them revoke your bond,” Clarke said, giving Burnham 24 hours to remove his moving company equipment from the property. “There won’t be any playing around with this.”

Neighbors have been complaining about Burnham’s moving business since May. An investigation by City Pulse in November revealed that Burnham was operating his moving company without authorization by the state of Michigan, a misdemeanor. State Police confirmed he was not properly authorized by either the state or the federal government to run a moving company. A letter from the Michigan State Police to Burnham, dated Dec. 3, shows Burnham has since been approved for authority to operate a moving company. Those records show that on Thursday, Burnham applied for and obtained insurance, as required by law.

He was charged with violating state law, as well as having functional issues with his equipment, in Eaton County in 2013, and in 2014 agreed to plead guilty to the equipment charge. The prosecutor dismissed the operating without authorization charge.

His former landlord in Delta Township was also cited for Burnham’s operating a moving company from his rented home there, in violation of the township’s zoning laws.