(Reuters) - Michigan prosecutors on Tuesday charged four former government officials, including two city emergency managers, for their roles in connection with the Flint water crisis that exposed residents to dangerous levels of lead.
Flint's water contamination was linked to a switch of its water source to the Flint River from Lake Huron in April 2014 in an attempt to cut costs, when the city was under emergency management.
Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed 43 criminal charges against 13 current and former state and local officials in relation to the water crisis.
The four men named on Tuesday are charged with participating in a process that allowed the use of bonds to fund the construction of a new water pipeline despite Flint's heavy debts.
The officials charged on Tuesday are:
- Darnell Earley, 65, who was appointed as Flint's emergency manager by Republican Governor Rick Snyder and served from September 2013 until January 2015. The initial change in Flint's water source was made while Earley was emergency manager.
Earley faces four charges, including three felonies. The most severe are the financial mismanagement charges of false pretenses and conspiracy to commit false pretenses; both carry up to 20 year sentences, as well as substantial fines.
Earley also faces charges of misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty. The misconduct charge carries up to five years in jail, as well as a possible $10,000 fine; willful neglect carries up to one year in jail and a possible $1,000 fine.
- Gerald Ambrose, 72, worked as the finance director for three emergency managers starting in January 2012. He succeeded Earley when he was appointed by Snyder as emergency manager, serving from January 2015 to April 2015. Ambrose faces the same four charges as Earley, three of which are felonies.
- Howard Croft, 51, and Daugherty Johnson, 47, both face two felony charges of false pretenses and conspiracy to commit false pretenses.
Croft was Flint’s director of the Department of Public Works from December 2011 to November 2015. Johnson served as Flint's utilities director for the Department of Public Works.
Reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Editing by Dan Grebler