Michigan Taxpayers Could Be On Hook for $2.7M For Flint Water Crisis Legal Fees


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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is asking for $1.2 million in legal fees to pay defense attorneys, despite repeated calls that he resigns over the constant Flint water crisis. This is two times more than $500,000 that has been slated for the expense.

On top of that, Bill Schuette, the state’s attorney general, is asking for $1.5 million to pay for an independent investigation of the role the government had in the crisis.

This means taxpayers would be on the hook for $2.7 million in legal costs.

State lawmakers, mostly Democrats, are skeptical of the plans that have been laid out in a March 8 agenda from the State Administrative Board. State lawmakers claim the money needs to go toward fixing the city’s contaminated water where thousands of people have drank lead-polluted water for many years.

Democratic state Senator Minority Leader Jim Ananich said paying for the high-priced attorneys instead of completely refunding victims or the school nurses is a kick to taxpayers. He said the priorities need to be getting rid of the old pipes and protecting the children. It should not be to cover the legal costs that are going to incur.

The Flint water crisis goes back close to two years, when the city’s residents noticed their tap water turned brown and had an odd taste. For the most part, and until the various reports that laid out the extremely high lead levels were made public, local officials ignored the complaints. Lead is a neurotoxin that could cause major health problems in people, but, most especially, young children.

Since the investigation began, Snyder has been the target of anger with allegations growing that government officials along with state agencies disregarded the facts associated with the toxicity level of the water.

Brandon Dillon, the state’s Democratic Party Chair, said it’s appalling that the government wants to use $1.2 million in taxpayer money to pay for his defense attorney in the case. He echoed Ananich’s assertion that the money needs to replace the lead pipes and give safe drinking water to the families in Flint.

Gov. Snyder’s spokesman Ari Adler said the amount is for the processing of a large amount of information included in the investigation. Alder said information can’t just magically appear out of thin air. Instead people need to search for and process that information.

A multitude of lawsuits and a class-action lawsuit has been filed against the government.

Along with residents of the state, both Democratic presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have called for the governor to step down from his position. President Barack Obama have called the entire situation disgraceful.

Andres Bitley, a spokeswoman for Schuette, said the money is going to be used to run an in-depth and independent investigation into the matter, making sure that no stone is left unturned. She said this is something everybody in the city and state wants to know and deserves. She said the government will get answers to what happened.

It will take years for the water crisis in Flint to be resolved. And, the filters the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave Flint residents isn’t going to fully protect them from the high lead levels in the tap.

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Posted by on Mar 11 2016. Filed under Featured, New. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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