Warren mayor warns of ‘major,’ Flint-like environmental scandal in Macomb County

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts, via Facebook.
Warren Mayor Jim Fouts, via Facebook.

Update below. 

In an ominous Facebook Post late Wednesday night, Warren Mayor Jim Fouts warned that “a major environmental scandal is brewing in Macomb County” and compared it to the Flint water crisis.

“This could cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. I’m closely watching this development,” Fouts wrote on Facebook. “If what I heard and understand is true this could cost the taxpayers a good deal of money and somebody must be held accountable for this unacceptable mess. This is a developing situation. Could be a mini version of what happened in Flint.”

The vague, somewhat speculative post has prompted fear among residents who questioned why the mayor would not provide more specific information.

Is the drinking water unsafe? Should we be concerned about our health?

“Well what the hell is it? Don’t leave us in suspense?” Tomas Diaz responded to the post.

“You cannot post something like this and NOT inform us what the heck you are talking about!” Emma Bacevicius Banaszewski added.

Sherry Pinch wrote, “Isn’t it our right to know Mr. Mayor … after all I was born n raised here …”

Fouts posted the comment around midnight. Nine hours later, Fouts still had not responded to residents’ questions.

Motor City Muckraker requested an interview with Fouts, but he didn’t immediately respond.

Residents are understandably concerned about a “mini version of what happened in Flint,” where thousands of residents were sickened by lead-contaminated water in one of the largest environmental scandals in Michigan history.

At 9:10 p.m., Fouts posted this:

“Make no mistake about this today, this was a major cover-up! It’s called to deflect, to scapegoat, and to shoot the messenger! All designed to “hush up” a major environmental mistake. Two serious issues: 1)Leachate 2)Methane gas I will follow up with additional information after talking with the DEQ tomorrow and other experts. I will also contact TRC the environmental engineer for that landfill.”

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.