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Tag Archive | "Stephen Busch"

MDHHS Director and four others charged in Flint Water death


 

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced on Wednesday, June 14, that he has charged Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick 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 Water Supervisor Stephen Busch, with involuntary manslaughter related to their alleged failure to act in the Flint Water Crisis.

Involuntary manslaughter is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and/or a $7,500 fine.

In addition to the involuntary manslaughter charges, Schuette also charged Lyon with Misconduct in Office, a felony, subject to 5 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells has also been charged with lying to a peace officer and obstruction of justice related to an alleged attempt to stop an investigation into the health crisis in Flint and later misleading investigators as to her actions.

INVESTIGATION INTERIM REPORT

With more than a dozen people now having been charged, and pre-trial hearings and other legal proceedings occurring, Schuette released the initial results of the more than yearlong investigation. Included in the report is a look at today’s and past charges made, as well as a review of the facts and evidence in the case. (You can find the report by clicking on this link – Flint-Water-Interim-Report.pdf)

DEFENDANTS 

Multiple Flint-area residents died of Legionnaires’ disease in the time immediately following the switch from Detroit Water and Sewer Department to the Flint River. All defendants charged with involuntary manslaughter are charged in relation to the death of Robert Skidmore, 85, of Mt. Morris, Michigan. Skidmore died of Legionnaires’ disease after many others had been diagnosed with the illness, yet no public outbreak notice had been issued. The charges allege failure to notify and lack of action to stop the outbreak allowed the disease to continue its spread through Flint’s water system.

NICK LYON – As the Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, a position whose duties are outlined in the Michigan Constitution, Lyon has a duty to protect public health. The investigation has shown that Lyon allegedly received notice of a deadly Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in Genesee County nearly one year before he informed the public.  After being informed about a potentially fatal health risk, Lyon allegedly deliberately failed to inform the public of a deadly Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak, which resulted in the death of Robert Skidmore.  Furthermore, Lyon allegedly participated in covering up the source of Genesee County’s Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak by repeatedly attempting to prevent an independent researcher from looking into the cause of the outbreak.

Charges: COUNT 1 – HOMICIDE – MANSLAUGHTER – INVOLUNTARY Did cause the death of Robert Skidmore on December 13, 2015, by failing to alert the public about a Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in Flint, Michigan when he had notice that another outbreak would occur; contrary to MCL 750.321. [750.321-C] FELONY: 15 Years and/or $7,500.00. DNA to be taken upon arrest.

COUNT 2 – MISCONDUCT IN OFFICE Did between February 2015 and May 2017, commit misconduct in office, an indictable offense at common law, in violation of his duty to protect the health of the citizens of the County of Genesee, State of Michigan and to protect the public health enjoined upon him by the Michigan Public Health Code, MCL 333.5111(1); MCL 333.5111(2)(f);MCL 333.2251(1): MCL 333.2251(3); and MCL 333.20531 and the Critical Health Problems Reporting Act; contrary to MCL 750.505. [750.505] FELONY: 5 Years and/or $10,000.00.

EDEN WELLS – As the Chief Medical Executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Eden Wells has a responsibility to protect the health and welfare of Michigan residents. During the course of the investigation of the Flint Water Crisis, it is alleged that Wells attempted to withhold funding for programs designed to help the victims of the crisis, and then lied to an investigator about material facts related to the investigation.

Charges: COUNT 1 – OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE Did commit the common law offense of obstruction of justice by knowingly providing false testimony to a Special Agent and by threatening to withhold funding for the Flint Area Community Health and Environment Partnership if the partnership did not cease its investigation into the source of the Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in Flint, Michigan; contrary to MCL 750.505. FELONY: 5 Years or $10,000.  DNA to be taken upon arrest.

COUNT 2 – LYING TO A PEACE OFFICER – 4 YEAR OR MORE CRIME INVESTIGATION After being informed by Special Counsel Todd Flood, in the presence of Special Agent Arthur Wimmer, that they were conducting a criminal investigation, did knowingly and willfully make a statement or statements to the officer that he or she knew was false or misleading regarding the following material fact or facts relating to the investigation: the date she knew of the Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in Flint, Michigan, and the officer was conducting a criminal investigation regarding involuntary manslaughter; contrary to MCL 750.479c(2)(c). [750.470C2C]. HIGH COURT MISDEMEANOR: 2 Years and/or $5,000.00.

STEPHEN BUSCH – Stephen Busch served as the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality District 8 Water Supervisor, a position which would have allowed him to order the Flint Water Treatment Plant be shut down because it was not producing safe water. In January of 2015, Busch was made aware of the Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak, yet he allegedly represented to the public that Flint’s drinking water was safe.

Busch was previously charged with felony Misconduct in Office, Tampering with Evidence, Conspiracy to Tamper with Evidence, and two misdemeanor counts for both a treatment and monitoring violation of the Michigan Safe Water Drinking Act.

Charges: COUNT 1 – HOMICIDE – MANSLAUGHTER – INVOLUNTARY Did cause the death of Robert Skidmore on December 13, 2015, by failing to alert the public about a Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in Flint, Michigan when he had notice that another outbreak would occur; contrary to MCL 750.321. [750.321-C] FELONY: 15 Years and/or $7,500.00. DNA to be taken upon arrest.

LIANE SHEKTER-SMITH  – As the Chief of the Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance at the Department of Environmental Quality, Shekter-Smith had the ability to order the Flint Water Treatment Plant shut down for failure to produce safe water.

Shekter-Smith was previously charged with a felony of Misconduct in Office and a misdemeanor charge of Willful Neglect of Duty.

Charges: COUNT 1 – HOMICIDE – MANSLAUGHTER – INVOLUNTARY Did cause the death of Robert Skidmore on December 13, 2015, by failing to alert the public about a Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in Flint, Michigan when he had notice that another outbreak would occur; contrary to MCL 750.321. [750.321-C] FELONY: 15 Years and/or $7,500.00. DNA to be taken upon arrest.

HOWARD CROFT – As Director of Public Works for the City of Flint, Croft had the ability to mandate changes to the treatment processes at the WTP to ensure proper disinfection was occurring, or switch back to DWSD. Mike Glasgow, former Flint Water Treatment Plant Operator, was allegedly pressured by Croft to start using the Flint Water Treatment Plant. Croft’s alleged failure to treat the water properly contributed to the bacterial outbreaks found in Flint, including the legionella in the spring of 2015.

Croft was previously charged with felony False Pretenses and Conspiracy to Commit False Pretenses.

Charges: COUNT 1 – HOMICIDE – MANSLAUGHTER – INVOLUNTARY Did cause the death of Robert Skidmore on December 13, 2015, by failing to alert the public about a Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in Flint, Michigan when he had notice that another outbreak would occur; contrary to MCL 750.321. [750.321-C] FELONY: 15 Years and/or $7,500.00. DNA to be taken upon arrest.

DARNELL EARLEY – As an appointed Emergency Manager for the City of Flint, Earley was tasked with ensuring the health and welfare of the City. During his terms as Emergency Manager, Earley contributed to the decisions that allegedly caused the death of Robert Skidmore by keeping the City on the water source even as it became obvious the source should be switched back to Detroit Water & Sewer.

Earley was previously charged with felony False Pretenses, Conspiracy to Commit False Pretenses, Misconduct in Office and a misdemeanor charge of Willful Neglect of Duty.

Charges: COUNT 1 – HOMICIDE – MANSLAUGHTER – INVOLUNTARY Did cause the death of Robert Skidmore on December 13, 2015, by failing to alert the public about a Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in Flint, Michigan when he had notice that another outbreak would occur; contrary to MCL 750.321. [750.321-C] FELONY: 15 Years and/or $7,500.00. DNA to be taken upon arrest.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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Three charged with felonies in Flint water crisis 


Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton joined Special Counsel Todd Flood and Chief Investigator Andy Arena in announcing charges. “Today’s charges are a beginning, not an end.” 

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Wednesday, April 20, that he filed a total of 13 felony charges and 5 misdemeanor charges against two state officials and one city official as a result of their actions in the Flint water contamination crisis currently gripping the city.

“What happened here in Flint is a tragedy,” said Schuette, “and we will continue to investigate all information that comes our way. This is not something I take lightly.”

Charges were filed Wednesday morning in the Genesee County 67th District Court in Flint against the following three individuals:

Stephen Busch, 40, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality District 8 Water Supervisor (3 felonies, 2 misdemeanor);

Michael Prysby, 53, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality District 8 Water Engineer (4 felonies, 2 misdemeanor); and

Michael Glasgow, 40, City of Flint Laboratory and Water Quality Supervisor (1 felony, 1 misdemeanor).

“The justice system in Michigan is not rigged,” said Schuette. “Anyone that says Michigan has a wink and nod justice system is wrong. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, if you break the law there will be consequences.”

The maximum sentences for each of the felonies, which are summarized below, range from 4-5 years in prison, with fines for each in a range between $5,000-$10,000.

“So many things went so terribly wrong in Flint. I made a decision that I must investigate what went wrong. It is my job as Attorney General to protect the citizens of Michigan. The citizens of Flint deserve that, the citizens of Michigan deserve that. This investigation is ongoing, it is broad, detailed and comprehensive.”

The charges are the first announced as a result of Schuette’s investigation into the crisis, which is being conducted by Special Prosecutor Todd Flood, Chief Investigator Andy Arena, and Deputy Chief Investigator Ellis Stafford. Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton is also working with Schuette on the investigation and joined Schuette in Flint for Wednesday’s announcement.

“We are working closely together on this investigation because the people of Flint deserve nothing less than the truth and we will keep working until we get to the bottom of this,” said Leyton.

The charges against DEQ workers Busch and Prysby include:

Count 1 Common law offenses – Misconduct in office 

It is alleged that between February 2015 and November 2015, they committed misconduct in office, an indictable offense at common law, by willfully and knowingly misleading federal regulatory officials in the Environmental Protection Agency, including, but not limited to, Miguel Del Toral, and/or Genesee County Health Department officials, including, but not limited to, James Henry, in violation of his duty to provide clean and safe drinking water to the citizens of the County of Genesee, State of Michigan and to protect the public health; contrary to MCL 750.505. It is a felony punishable by 5 Years in prison and/or $10,000.00.

Count 3 Conspiracy – Tampering with evidence 

It is alleged that defendants on or about January 2015, through November 2015, defendants did unlawfully conspire, combine, confederate and agree together with persons, both known and unknown to the People of the State of Michigan, to commit an offense prohibited by law, to wit: Tampering with Evidence, including but not limited to manipulating monitoring reports mandated by law; contrary to MCL 750.157a. It is a felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison and/or $10,000.00.

Count 4– Tampering with evidence 

It is alleged that defendants did knowingly and intentionally remove, alter, conceal, destroy, or otherwise tamper with evidence, to wit: reports entitled “Lead and Copper Report and Consumer Notice of Lead Result” dated February 27, 2015 and/or July 28, 2015 and/or August 20, 2015; contrary to MCL 750.483a(6)(a). It is a felony punishable by 4 years in prison and/or $5,000.00.

Count 5– Treatment violation – Michigan safe drinking water act 

It is alleged that defendants did cease the utilization of optimal corrosion control treatment at the Flint Water Treatment Plant after the Plant switched to the Flint River as a water source and/or did refuse to mandate optimized corrosion control treatment at the Flint Water Treatment Plant in a timely manner after the lead action level was exceeded; contrary to MCL

325.1001. It is a misdemeanor punishable by 1 year and/or $5,000.00 for each day of violation.

Count 6 – Monitoring violation – Michigan safe drinking water act 

It is alleged that defendants did improperly manipulate the collection of water samples by directing residents to “pre-flush” their taps by

running the water for five minutes the night before drawing a water sample and/or did fail to collect required samples included in the Tier 1 category of serviced lines and/or did remove test results from samples to be included in the Lead and Copper Report and Consumer Notice of Lead Result; contrary to MCL 325.1001.  This is a misdemeanor punishable by 1 year and/or $5,000.00 for each day of violation.

Michael Prysby was also charged with:

Count 2 Common law offenses – Misconduct in office 

It is alleged that the defendant did, on or about April 4, 2014, commit misconduct in office, an indictable offense at common law, by authorizing a permit to the Flint Water Treatment Plant knowing the Flint Water Treatment Plant was deficient in its ability to provide clean and safe drinking water for the citizens of the County of Genesee, State of Michigan; contrary to MCL 750.505.  This a felony punishable by 5 years in prison and/or $10,000.00.

Charges against Flint water employee Michael Glasgow include:

Count 7 – Tampering with evidence 

It is alleged that defendant did knowingly and intentionally remove, alter, conceal, destroy, or otherwise tamper with evidence to be offered in an official proceeding, to wit: the report entitled “Lead and Copper Report and Consumer Notice of Lead Result” dated February 27, 2015 and/or July 28, 2015 and/or August 20, 2015; contrary to MCL 750.483a(6)(a). This is a felony punishable by 4 years and/or $5,000.00.

Count 8 – Willful neglect of duty 

It is alleged that defendant did willfully neglect to perform a duty enjoined upon him by the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act, to wit: by failing to perform the duties of an F-1 Certified Operator employed by the Flint Water Treatment Plant; contrary to MCL 750.478. This is a misdemeanor punishable by 1 year and/or $1,000.00.

Schuette noted the investigation remains fully active and that the charges filed do not preclude additional charges at a later date.

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