By Steve Neavling
Motor City Muckraker
Hundreds of Flint residents impacted by lead contamination of their drinking water have filed a racketeering lawsuit against Gov. Rick Snyder, his emergency managers and other state and local leaders.
The federal lawsuit alleges that Snyder and others devised a “wrongful scheme” to save money by tapping the Flint River for drinking water in April 2014, a decision that will negatively affect children and adults for generations.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Flint, says the state should have invoked “time tested, well-honed federal bankruptcy protections for restructuring the debts of municipalities.”
The governor’s spokesman declined to comment.
The defendants in the suit include Snyder, the state of Michigan, the city’s former emergency managers, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Health and Human Services, numerous other state officials, the city of Flint and several consultants.
The state’s actions created “unthinkable harm” to Flint residents.
Opponents of Snyder are collecting signatures to recall the governor, who finally decided in October 2015 to switch back to Detroit’s water.
E-mails and other records show the state was warned of the dangers of using the Flint River and failed to act until public pressure became insurmountable.
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.