CHEBOYGAN COUNTY, Mich., (From news reports) -- There's a new development in media company UpNorthLive News' ongoing investigation of Cheboygan's Tissue Depot.
Last month, we sat down for an exclusive interview with Ron Van Den Heuvel, the man behind much of the company's controversies.
A telephone conference in federal court Monday morning means the temporary restraining order against Great Lakes Tissue will continue.
And city officials said the facility's consultant, Van Den Heuvel, is no longer in Cheboygan.
Monday's hearing between Sertant Capitol, Prime Alliance Bank and Great Lakes Tissue is the continuation of a motion for possession filed months ago.
The plaintiffs were granted a temporary restraining order against Great Lakes Tissue, which stopped them from moving, using, hiding or damaging more than 60 pieces of leased equipment that were critical in the facility's work.
According to court documents, that case will continue, meaning the temporary restraining order will remain in place until June 12.
At that point, the two parties will meet in federal court for a hearing to resolve the matter.
Also, since UpNorthLive News' one-on-one interview with Van Den Heuvel, city officials said he is no longer in the City of Cheboygan.
The topic came up in a recent city council meeting.
"And last, going back to my questions over here, Mr. Ron Van Den Heveul is no longer in Cheboygan, Michigan," said Cheboygan City Manager Dan Sabolsky.
"He was the consultant for Great Lakes Tissue," Sabolsky said. "I am not sure what that means now for great lakes Tissue. And he has also been ordered not to come back to Cheboygan, Michigan."
Sabolsky said the order came from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which managed Van Den Heuvel's parole.
UpNorthLive News reached out to the Tissue Depot and Van Den Heuvel to confirm this, but they did not respond to our requests for comment.
After lofty promises of more than $180 million in investment, one of the apparently lead person behind the paper company may not be around to see it through.
APRIL 21 STORY
CHEBOYGAN, Mich., (From news reports) -- UpNorthLive News in Michigan has been digging into concerns surrounding the Great Lakes Tissue Plant, now known as the Tissue Depot.
The updates have taken us inside the plant and inside the courtroom.
And now we have an exclusive interview with the man behind much of the controversy.
Ron Van Den Heuvel is listed as a consultant on Tissue Depot documents.
And when we asked the plant about his involvement, we were told that consulting was all he did.
But after talking with him on Wednesday, his stake in this facility is much bigger than we knew.
"I owned it before and I sold it to these people," said Van Den Heuvel.
"I said, I will bring this technology in, here's this equipment, and I'll borrow, on my name, $5 million dollars. You get this cleaned up," Van Den Heuvel said.
Van Den Heuvel was convicted of fraud in Wisconsin and handed a 7.5-year prison sentence in 2019.
He was released during the COVID-19 pandemic to serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest in Cheboygan.
"You can look at the papers, you can look up everything about me. Google me and it looks like I'm Attila the Hun okay. But I'm not," Van Den Heuvel said.
Van Den Heuvel, an engineer by trade, acknowledged his past and said for those concerned about his involvement, to look at this previous work.
"Well I say to them, look at my record in tissue," Van Den Heuvel said. "I've done 46 of the last 56 tissue machines built in the United States. Not one with a problem."
But when you look at his most recent history, you'll see a record of fraud, and concerns about that following him here.
In the last few months, there have been unpaid bills, a $2 million lawsuit regarding leased equipment and a collapsing building.
Van Den Heuvel said the team at the Tissue Depot has paid of their debts to the city.
He also said the new ownership team was lied to by previous owners about the plant's financial situation.
"We didn't know about the Sertant loan," Van Den Heuvel said. "The people that I'm working for... that I want to work for, didn't know about the Sertant loan. It wasn't disclosed to them."
"So when they came in here and all of the sudden the checkbook was over drafted by a local lady, $164,000 at a local bank, that's a lot of money," Van Den Heuvel said.
And he said it hasn't gotten much easier since.
"To say it didn't hurt us a lot, it did," Van Den Heuvel said.
According to him, right now the plant isn't shut down and ownership is fighting to keep it open.
"Hopefully, we can get this collective group of owners and hopefully we can get enough money to pay off Sertant and the other issues and clean up and go forward," Van Den Heuvel said.
He said the Tissue Depot is working with Sertant to let them in the plant for a court ordered inspection of the leased equipment.
And according to court documents, that has to happen by Thursday, April 27.