Racketeering lawsuit filed against Governor Snyder alleges conspiracy to balance Flint’s budget by selling free, untreated, toxic river water to the people of Flint

I don’t know what will come of it, but attorneys from New York and Southfield filed racketeering charges against Governor Snyder and several others in Flint’s U.S. District Court this morning, claiming that the Flint water crisis was the direct result of an “intentional scheme” crafted by Snyder and other state officials to balance the economically troubled city’s budget by selling untreated water from the Flint River to the people of Flint at rates far exceeding those paid by people in other areas of the country for safe drinking water. According to the 17-count Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) complaint, this conspiracy, led by Snyder and his emergency managers, with the assistance of several consultants and state officials, essentially turned free water from the Flint River into nearly $50 million in cash.

According to the federal charges, which were brought on behalf of 400 Flint residents, “The state and/or City of Flint collected approximately 50 million dollars in water bills from the date of connecting to the Flint River on April 24, 2014 to present with the knowledge that the water being distributed and used did not have corrosion control, was toxic and unfit for use. Moreover, the City of Flint raised an estimated $50 million in revenue by the sale of the free Flint River Water that caused the City of Flint to substantially reduce its budget deficit of 19 million dollars to a 3.3 million dollar surplus by June 30, 2015.”

It’s an interesting angle that hadn’t occurred tome before… What if this wasn’t just an attempt on the part of Snyder and his emergency managers to cut costs to the bone without thought as to what the consequences might be? What if, instead, this was a deliberate decision on their part to sell what they knew to be toxic water to the people of Flint, in hopes of generating incredible returns?

If you get a chance, read the whole complaint. [The details concerning the role of the engineering firms involved was particularly interesting to me.] Here, however, is a clip.

rackateering

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6 Comments

  1. Posted April 6, 2016 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    I know this is just an opening salvo in what these lawyers are hoping evolves into a huge, lucrative class-action suit, but I find this incredibly interesting. The RICO angle isn’t one I would have considered. And I’d love to hear from a legal scholar why they think the attorneys took this approach.

  2. anonymous
    Posted April 7, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Has anyone estimated what the inevitable class-action suit might cost the state of Michigan?

  3. Kit
    Posted April 7, 2016 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Whatever it takes to put them away for a long, long time.

  4. Posted April 7, 2016 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    You wrote: It’s an interesting angle that hadn’t occurred tome before… What if this wasn’t just an attempt on the part of Snyder and his emergency managers to cut costs to the bone without thought as to what the consequences might be? What if, instead, this was a deliberate decision on their part to sell what they knew to be toxic water to the people of Flint, in hopes of generating incredible returns?

    That HAS occurred to me, actually. So has the idea that the wealthy Republicans want Michigan to themselves (by making it unbearable for us/making us into wage slaves) because of its freshwater supply. This makes me think they know something we don’t know. I feel like a conspiracy theorist typing these words, btw. Next I will start ranting about the Illuminati, birth certificates, and the little man who lives in my pants.

  5. Frosted Flakes
    Posted April 7, 2016 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know if it is true or not but I was told quite a few years ago(and I believed it) that Michigan city departments were not allowed to generate a profit. So,for example, a police department can’t make a profit writing tickets, you can’t make a profit on building permits, and water department can’t turn a profit either. Like I said, not sure if it is true…Anybody know?

  6. Taco Farts
    Posted April 8, 2016 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    I’ve been out of the loop, sorry if this is ignorant in any way, but is anyone still talking about the ‘theory’ that the whole point was to further smother detroit so Snyder could sell off Detroit Water to some business buddies? It seems like a reasonable question to ask when you consider how they turned down the cheaper Detroit contract and, I think I read, cutting off flint from DWSD also cuts off some other customer(s) further down the line?

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