Daily Briefs

Emergency managers charged over Flint's lead-tainted water

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s attorney general filed more criminal charges Tuesday in the investigation of lead-tainted water in Flint, targeting two former state-appointed emergency managers who were running the troubled city and played key roles in making changes to the supply that caused the crisis.

Former emergency managers Darnell Earley and Gerald Ambrose were each charged with four crimes, including conspiracy. Attorney General Bill Schuette said they committed Flint to $85 million in bonds to help build a new water pipeline to Lake Huron while at the same time using a city water plant that was not equipped to treat water properly from the Flint River.

Schuette also charged former Flint city employees Howard Croft and Daugherty Johnson with conspiracy and false pretenses. Croft was the public works director from December 2011 to November 2015. Johnson was Flint’s utilities director.

“The investigation has continued to go up and go out. ... We are not at the end,” said former FBI agent Andy Arena, the lead investigator.

Johnson’s attorney, Edwar Zeineh, said his client will plead not guilty. The others and their lawyers couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Only Johnson was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

Flint’s water system became contaminated with lead because water from the Flint River wasn’t treated for corrosion for 18 months, from April 2014 to October 2015. The water ate away at a protective coating inside old pipes and fixtures, releasing lead.

During a news conference, Schuette said the water debacle was a result of “arrogance, disdain and a failure of management.”

The latest charges bring to 13 the number of people who have been charged in the investigation of Flint water and an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. The other nine are eight current or former state employees and a Flint water plant employee.

Schuette said the investigation isn’t over, although “we are closer to the end than we are to the beginning.”


Holiday Hours

The 36th District Court will be closed for the holidays Friday, Dec. 23 through Tuesday, Dec. 27 and Friday, Dec. 30 through Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. All probable cause conferences and preliminary examinations for felony cases will be held at 8:30 a.m. at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice on the 2nd floor Dec. 27-29. Felony arraignments will be held at noon at the 36th District Court Dec. 27-29.

All other in-custody misdemeanors will be held at 10 a.m. Dec. 28-29.

The Third Circuit Court Civil, Criminal and Family Divisions will be closed Friday, Dec. 23 through Friday, Dec. 30.

During the three days between Christmas and the New Year’s Eve holiday, the Criminal Division will be staffed to handle arraignments and bench warrants. The Civil Division will be staffed to handle emergency matters. The Family Division will be staffed to process emergency juvenile intake matters, emergency domestic relations and personal protection matters. The County Clerk’s Office will be staffed to accept civil and domestic relations pleadings and new case filings.