Meet latest 4 charged over Flint’s water crisis
The latest four criminally charged in the wake of Flint’s water crisis investigation by Michigan Attorney Bill Schuette’s team involved two former city emergency managers and two former city utility workers.
Here’s a sample of their known involvement in Flint:
Howard Croft served as director of public works, Flint’s top utility official, from 2011 until he resigned his post in November 2015. His position oversaw Flint’s water treatment and distribution.
Former Utilities Administrator Daugherty Johnson worked under Croft. He and Croft recommended a contract in June 2013 to then-Emergency Manager Ed Kurtz that seemingly committed the city to use water from the Flint River, which ended up causing lead contamination and likely the spread of Legionella bacteria. Kurtz, who has not been charged, signed off on it.
Darnell Earley took over as Flint’s emergency manager a few months after that resolution was approved. In March 2014, when he officially rebuffed an offer from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to provide Flint with water, Earley cited that earlier decision from before his tenure.
Flint began to draw corrosive river water on April 25, 2014, with Earley toasting the switch. He left in January 2015 to become the emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools and resigned in February.
Flint’s last emergency manager, Gerald Ambrose, left office in April 2015. But during his tenure, residents complained about their water quality and the system had issues with trihalomethanes.
Also, a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality regulator sent a March 17, 2015, email to several Flint officials with tips on how to “limit the potential for legionella occurrence” in the plumbing of homes. Ambrose was copied on the email — documentation that may have alerted him about a spike in Legionnaires' disease cases.
Earley and Ambrose face 20-year felony charges of false pretenses and conspiracy to commit false pretenses, as well as misconduct in office, a five-year felony. In addition, they face one-year misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty while in office.
Croft and Johnson also face the false pretenses charges.
Ambrose, Croft and Johnson were each arraigned on Tuesday, with all having not-guilty pleas entered on their behalf. Ambrose declined to comment while leaving the courthouse in downtown Flint.