A Green Oak Township woman who said her home and farm had been vandalized last year has been arraigned on charges of Attempted False Pretenses of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000 related to the case.
According to a release from Green Oak Township Police, they received a report related to destruction of property on August 10, 2021, on Marcy Drive. The caller, Renay Gedeon, advised responding officers that someone had spray painted racist graffiti on the side of her home. While beginning their investigation, officers learned through a Facebook post and GoFundMe campaign that there was also damage done to Gedeon’s Farm as well.
The release states that the post and GoFundMe site indicated that the suspects’ damaged a gate, greenhouses and produce at Gedeon’s Farm. However, when officers attempted to locate the farm to gather further evidence of the crime, police allege they were led astray by Gedeon as to the location of the farm.
“As officers continued their investigation, statements by Gedeon as to the location of the farm couldn’t be corroborated,” stated the release. “The GoFundMe campaign had approached nearly $9,000 to help cover costs of damages to the home, farm, and produce when Gedeon admitted to police she had lied about having a farm.”
So far, Gedeon declined to comment on the charges or the allegation that she lied to officers about having a farm.
The pictures she posted to social media last August showed the words “Que” and “KKK” spray-painted on the side of her home and on the garage door. There was also reportedly damage to a fence. At the time, she said she had come home from work when she heard her two dogs begin barking. When she went outside to investigate, she says she found the graffiti.
Gedeon said she was convinced that the vandalism was directly related to an interview in which she said the potential cancellation of Howell’s Melonfest had unnecessarily become a political issue due to a planned, but later cancelled, Drag Queen Bingo event.
The sold-out, adults-only event was in part made into a point of conflict after Meghan Reckling, the Chair of the Livingston County Republican Party posted to social media her opinion that the event didn’t fit with the family-friendly nature of the festival and was not something that should be “sexualized.”
Gedeon said that after her interview, she had received many positive reactions, but also some negative ones, including someone driving by her house shouting homophobic slurs. She had no doubts that it was no coincidence her house was targeted. “The house across the street from me is empty. They could have very easily hit that house.”
Gedeon says she contacted Green Oak Township Police, who came out to take a report. However, now she is the only person charged in the incident and Green Oak Twp. Police say there still are no suspects identified in the spray paint incident. Anyone with additional information can call them at 810-231-9626.
Lianne Cook, who is listed as the GoFundMe page’s organizer, posted just a day after setting it up that she was closing and returning the money.
“Now, people are accusing them of damaging their own property, trying to run some kind of go fund me scam, etc.,” wrote Cook. “This is heartbreaking in so many ways and feels like evil wins again. I have no affiliation with them other then I’m a farmers market customer of theirs and my mom knows the family and has been buying from them for years. I saw wrong and tried to do good. The family is incredibly hurt and upset right now and doesn’t want to accept this money. No bank account was ever set up yet so ill be contacting go fund me in the next few days to see how to send refunds.”
Those who donated to the fund did have their donations returned.