‘Dirty deal:’ Gov. Snyder’s team blocked Flint from returning to Detroit’s clean water

Treasurer Nick Khouri and Gov. Rick Snyder mishandled the Flint water crisis.
Treasurer Nick Khouri and Gov. Rick Snyder mishandled the Flint water crisis.

By Steve Neavling
Motor City Muckraker

Months after Gov. Rick Snyder’s inner circle warned of grave health dangers of the Flint River, the administration blocked Flint from returning to Detroit’s water in April, new records show.

Once again, the issue came down to money – not the health of Flint’s residents.

At issue is a $7 million state loan agreement that included a provision prohibiting the city of Flint from returning to Detroit’s clean water without the approval of the state treasurer, according to records obtained by the Michigan Democratic Party.

Treasurer Nick Khouri wouldn’t give the approval.

What’s worse, records obtained by Motor City Muckraker show an engineering firm hired by the state’s Department of Treasury released a study in February 2013 that expressed concerns about the financial and operational risks of building the KWA pipeline, which had already cost 24% more than originally projected, and that’s not including anticipated cost overruns in the future.

Additional e-mail records show that then-Treasurer Andy Dillon alerted the governor’s office that it was risky to use the Flint River.

“As you will see, (the consultants) are recommending that Flint stay with DWSD,” Dillon said in an e-mail to Snyder. “This has ramifications that merit further discussion.”

Dillon resigned in October 2013 after Motor City Muckraker revealed he had drinking problems and was accused of assaulting his estranged wife.

“This dirty deal was forced on Flint by the Snyder administration, even after alarm bells were going off all over the governor’s office that lead and Legionnaires’ disease were poisoning families,” Brandon Dillon, chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, said. 

Now the Democratic Party is calling for the resignation of both Snyder and Khouri.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.