Flint Water Crisis: Four More Officials Charged

The situation in Flint can be called a disaster, with officials ignoring health problems, financial red flags and warnings regarding the readiness of the city’s water treatment plant. Now with four more officials facing charges of felonies of false pretenses and conspiracy, misdemeanors of misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty, the finger pointing continues.

Two water plant officials and and two emergency managers have been charged by the Michigan attorney general’s office as it continues its investigation into Flint’s water crisis. This brings the total number of people charged to thirteen so far, in addition to the two engineering firms that are being sued.

“There are voices out there that hope the poisoning of the water in Flint could be swept under the rug. And they hope and wish that the 24-hour news cycle would move on to another subject,” Schuette said. “Flint deserves better, and the people of Flint are not expendable, so to move on is unacceptable, ” said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Jerry Ambrose and Darnell Earley, the two emergency managers, face allegations that they their bond application was submitted with a false request and the tens of millions of borrowed dollars actually went towards funding for the Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline. The loophole they used to submit their bond application also required that the Flint River be used to provide the city’s drinking water while the pipeline was being built. All this was done despite the fact that there were very real and serious concerns regarding the readiness of the Flint water plant to treat its water. Howard Croft and Daugherty Johnson are two water plant officials who are charged with helping to cover up the warnings signs that the plant was not ready.

Emails show that Mr. Croft signed off on not using phosphates, anti-corrosive agents to the water supply. Without those phosphates, the water corroded lead pipes and it leached into the drinking water. Hundreds of families were poisoned. The corrosion also gave other bacteria, such as legionella (a cause of Legionnaires’ disease) a place to grow. The outbreak of the disease lead to more than ten deaths, even though Mr. Ambrose was informed of the Legionnaires’ issue by the Genesee County Health Department in March 2015.

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