3 officials charged for scheming to mislead public about Flint water dangers

Flint water faucet

By Steve Neavling
Motor City Muckraker

The first criminal charges connected to the Flint water crisis were filed Wednesday as part of an ongoing investigation that is expected to net many more arrests.

Two state officials and a Flint worker were charged with felonies for allegedly scheming to mislead and manipulate the public and federal regulators about the quality of the city’s drinking water. The charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

AG Bill Schuette

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said the charges are the first of more to come, pledging to carry out an “exhaustive” investigation that will be “without fear or favor.”

“We will enforce the law,” Schuette said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “We will hold each and every person who breaks the law accountable.”

Two officials at the Department of Environmental Quality were charged with “willfully and knowingly misleading” the Environmental Protection Agency about failing to use corrosion control to prevent lead contamination. The officials, Stephen Busch, a district supervisor, and Michael Prysby, a district engineer, also are accused of impeding a Genesee County investigation to cover up their crimes.

Flint’s utilities administrator, Michael Glasgow, is accused of tampering with test results to hide the severity of the lead contamination.

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The state investigation is led by former prosecutor Todd Flood and ex-FBI agent Andrew Arena.

Schuette, a Republican who is widely expected to run for governor, said accountability is a necessary step to restoring faith in state government.

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“So many things went so terribly wrong and tragically wrong in Flint,” Schuette said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

“They failed us all; I don’t care where you live.”

Schuette added: “These charges are the first of more to come. I guarantee that.”

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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.