FLINT, MI (WLNS) – 6 News continues our coverage on the Flint water crisis that continues to bring physical and emotional pain to those living in the city.
For the third time in 2016, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and his investigation teams laid down the law against four individuals who are accused of having a hand in Flint’s lead-contaminated water.
Those individuals are former Emergency Managers Darnell Earley and Jerry Ambrose and former city employees, Howard Croft and Daugherty Johnson.
All four men face charges of false pretenses and conspiracy to commit false pretenses.
While Earley and Ambrose also face charges of misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty, so far Earley is the only one who has not entered a “not guilty” plea to his charges.
In June 2012 through April of 2013, Flint officials started to look for cheaper water due to the financial troubles the city was facing.
Because of the emergency manager law in our state, different emergency managers were brought in during different time frames to help bring the city back to financial success.
Instead, as we’ve seen over the last couple years, it brought the city into a crisis.
The process started in 2013, with then emergency manager Ed Kurtz. He signed off on a plan to switch the city’s water system. Kurtz has not been charged with any crimes.
Darnell Earley took over as Flint’s Emergency Manager from September 2013 until January 2015.
During that time, Flint agreed to switch from the Detroit Water System, to the KWA to save the city tens of millions of dollars; but until the KWA was ready, the city agreed to use water from the Flint River, even though it wasn’t safe.
Gerry Ambrose would become Flint’s last emergency manager. He was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder from January 2015, to April of 2015.
In the felony charges announced today, the Attorney General is alleging that Ambrose participated in the process that allowed the bonds to fund the construction of the KWA, despite the city’s financial problem.
So, where do Howard Croft and Daughtery Johnson come into the picture? Both men worked for the City of Flint.
Croft was head of the Public Works Department from December of 2011, to November of 2015.
Daughtery Johnson was Flint’s Utilities Director for the Department of Public Works.
They both are being accused of giving Ed Kurtz the “OK” to switch the city’s water from the Detroit water system, to the KWA.
Of the four men charged Tuesday, two have strong ties to mid-Michigan. Former Emergency Manager’s Darnell Earley and Gerry Ambrose spent several years serving Ingham County.
Between the 90’s and early 2000’s, Earley served as county budget director and a deputy for administrative services and budget.
Meanwhile, Ambrose served more than two decades as an Ingham County Controller, before working as Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero’s Chief of Staff and City Finance Director.
After the charges against Ambrose were announced, Mayor Bernero released a statement saying:
“I’ve known Jerry Ambrose for over 25 years. He is one of the most humble and decent public servants i have encountered. I know Jerry to be a man of the highest character who would never knowingly endanger the public health. I am confident he will be fully vindicated.”
Tuesday’s charges raise the total number of individuals legally tied to the crisis, to 13.
The AG’s Flint Investigation Team said there is more to come.
Stay with 6 News, we’ll continue to follow the investigation into the Flint water crisis and bring you the latest information as we get it.