Environment

Numerous Officials Charged Over Flint’s Poison water

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

While Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive Dr. Eden Wells has been charged with obstruction of justice, the agency's director and a group of others have been charged with manslaughter.

Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon and others were charged with manslaughter for the death of a local resident, 85-year-old Robert Skidmore, who died after contracting Legionnaires' disease.

Special agent Jeff Seipenko said Wednesday, June 14, that DHHS Director Nick Lyon "took no action to alert the public" or Gov. Rick Snyder after he became aware of a rapid spike in Legionnaires' cases that coincided with the city's use of the Flint River as a water source starting in April 2014.

Along with Lyon, former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, former City of Flint Water Department Manager Howard Croft, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's Drinking Water Chief Liane Shekter-Smith and former district supervisor Stephen Busch were also charged Wednesday, June 14 with manslaughter in connection to Robert Skidmore's death.

Chief Medical Executive Dr. Eden Wells was charged with obstruction for allegedly "threatening to withhold funding for the Flint Area Community Health and Environmental Partnership if the partnership did not cease its investigation into the source of the Legionnaires' disease outbreak."

Those who knew about the outbreak did nothing about it, and those who were trying to do something about it were threatened with retaliation.

Amazingly, Governor Rick Snyder has released a statement praising Wells and Lyon for displaying 'strong leadership' and he has not asked either of them to resign.

Robert Skidmore was not the only local resident to die after contracting Legionnaires' disease, and it strikes me that lead poisoning is not mentioned in any of this. I suppose the legal battle and long-term consequences of lead poison will play out over many years.

  • Username1016

    That’s what slays me about Republicans. They don’t even TRY to do anything to solve real problems and make real people’s lives not suck. What do they think their job is? How can they look in the mirror every morning? If I were such a moral leper as that, I’d hang myself.

  • muselet

    I wouldn’t expect the manslaughter charges to end in imprisonment. It’s a long-shot there will even be trials. They”ll claim ignorance and limited immunity, and will probably offer to roll over on Eden Wells as part of a deal.

    As for Wells, I expect she’ll claim ignorance and limited immunity, and offer to roll over on Rick Snyder.

    If there are trials, expect the level of obfuscation to be epic. A deadlocked jury is as good as a win.

    The wild card in this is Snyder. He’s ambitious and still young enough to eye national office, but his approval rating in Michigan is in the 40% range and the whole country has heard of Flint’s water supply. He may just decide to pardon everybody, then go and warm a chair at a Righty think tank after his term as governor is up.

    I have serious doubts that justice will be served.

    –alopecia

  • Aynwrong

    “Amazingly, Governor Rick Snyder has released a statement praising Wells and Lyon for displaying ‘strong leadership’ and he has not asked either of them to resign.”

    The willingness of the GOP to just put their heads down, close ranks and just brute force their through any and every moral outrage their policies and corruption cause never fails to leave me simply galled.

    I’m sure I’m betraying my ignorance by saying this but I never understood why a state of emergency could not be declared and the federal government could not assume control and do the repair work necessary to return safe, clean drinking water to Flint. I understand that might set a dangerous precedent (especially considering what’s currently living in the White House) but given the current reality of this city’s residents in might be worth it.