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Schuette to announce civil suit in Flint probe

Jonathan Oosting
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — Attorney General Bill Schuette is preparing to announce a new civil lawsuit on Wednesday in Flint, the latest development in his ongoing investigation into the city’s water contamination crisis.

Schuette’s office said he will announce unspecified civil charges during a 10 a.m. press conference at the University of Michigan-Flint, where he will be joined by Special Assistant Attorney General Noah Hall and members of his Flint water investigative team.

Schuette spokeswoman Andrea Bitely declined to discuss further details of the pending litigation. Civil lawsuits typically involve claims by a wronged party that a person or entity failed to carry out a legal duty or responsibility.

The attorney general launched the Flint probe in January and in April charged two state water regulators and a city official with a series of misdemeanor and felony crimes.

“These charges are only the beginning, and there will be more to come, that I can guarantee,” Schuette said at the time.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality employees Stephen Busch and Michael Prysby are accused of misconduct, tampering with water monitoring reports and violating state drinking water laws.

Flint utilities administrator Mike Glasgow struck a plea deal with Schuette’s office. He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of willful neglect of duty after agreeing to cooperate with state and federal investigators. 67th District Court Judge Jennifer Manley took the plea under advisement in May and delayed her decision on whether to accept it.

State regulators failed to require that the city add corrosion control chemicals when it began using Flint River water in April 2014 while awaiting construction of a new regional pipeline from Lake Huron.

Experts say that decision proved catastrophic. The harsh river water ended up leaching lead from aging pipes, contaminating the drinking water supply. Residents continue to rely on bottled and filtered water for their daily needs.