So far, Flint’s Mayor Weaver has only reserved her right to sue the state of Michigan as a last resort, essentially putting Lansing on notice that she has one in the chamber just in case they don’t act right and she needs to pull the trigger. She has said publicly that filing this lawsuit is not what she wants to do, but she has also essentially said that she would be foolish and irresponsible not to reserve that option as a last option in case things go horribly wrong.
Because expecting Mayor Weaver to simply trust Lansing, at this late date, after all that has happened, is rather ridiculous. As the saying goes, fool me once, shame on you. But fool me twice..? Nevertheless, all Mayor Weaver has done so far, at most, is to issue a threat.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, more than 400 Michigan residents have made it plain that, in their estimation, a simple threat simply won’t do. Which is why they joined together to file a racketeering lawsuit that targets Gov. Snyder specifically, as well as members of his administration plus the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). From the Detroit Free Press:
“Filed in U.S. District Court in Flint, the suit is one of many arising from the decision to switch the Flint supply from the Detroit water system to the Flint River in April 2014 to cut costs. The move was supposed to be temporary, until Flint could join a new water authority that would pipe water from Lake Huron.
“The lawsuit accuses Snyder and others of hatching a “wrongful scheme” to reduce Flint’s indebtedness by stopping the impoverished city from buying treated Lake Huron water from Detroit, instead of ‘invoking time tested, well-honed federal bankruptcy protections for restructuring the debts of municipalities.’”
For those who may not know what racketeering is, here’s a definition from The Free Dictionary:
Traditionally, obtaining or extorting money illegally or carrying on illegal business activities, usually byOrganized Crime. A pattern of illegal activity carried out as part of an enterprise that is owned or controlled by those who are engaged in the illegal activity. The latter definition derives from the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations Act (RICO), a set of laws (18 U.S.C.A. § 1961 et seq. ) specifically designed to punish racketeering by business enterprises.
Racketeering, as it is commonly understood, has always coexisted with business. In the United States, the term racketeer was synonymous with members of organized-crime operations.
Congress passed RICO as part of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970. Organized crime in the United States had been increasing ever since the Twenty-First Amendment’sProhibition of alcohol was repealed in 1933. Crime groups and families that had been bootlegging moved on to other moneymaking crimes by controlling legitimate businesses and by using some of them as fronts for criminal activity. Over the years, Congress had enacted several statutes authorizing increased punishment for typical organized-crime activities such as illicit gambling rings, loan sharking, transportation of stolen goods, andExtortion. However, it had not passed legislation that specifically punishes the very act of committing organized crime
Sooooo… absolutely innocent until proven guilty. For sure. That’s the way our legal system works and for good reason. Still, this doesn’t exactly sound good. Not when you add it all up. And not when you factor that yet another lawsuit targeting Gov. Snyder is being announced tomorrow (Thursday, April. 7) in Detroit. That particular class action lawsuit is being brought by the elected Detroit Public School Board and a group of parents who are essentially charging Gov. Snyder and others as being responsible for the destruction of DPS through the use of emergency management and other measures stretching all the way back to 1999 when Gov. John Engler took over DPS.
As to what the outcome of all these lawsuits will be, who knows? But when you add the threat of one lawsuit to the filing of multiple lawsuits to the recent congressional hearings and all the other unwelcome attention that has been attracted largely by the Flint water crisis and the deplorable condition of Detroit Public Schools, you get a very ugly picture. And that picture is shaped like Michigan.
If only we could change the channel…