The state has filed a lawsuit seeking to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from two water engineering firms that did work in Flint.
The lawsuit accuses the companies Veolia North America and Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam (LAN) of fraud and professional negligence. It says the firms not only failed to detect lead contamination of the water, but also did things that made the problem worse. “They failed miserably in their job, basically botched it,” said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. “Didn’t stop the water in Flint from being poisoned. They made it worse. That’s what they did.”
Todd Flood is the special assistant attorney general in charge of the investigation. He says the lawsuit seeks to recover the costs of dealing with the water crisis. “We have a mighty stick and we are here on behalf of the state of Michigan and the citizens of Flint,” he said.
Schuette said the damages could be used to set up a trust fund to help Flint residents recover from the water crisis.
Both companies released statements vigorously denying any misconduct.
From the statement by Veolia:
“The company is disappointed that the Attorney General has taken this action and will vigorously defend itself against these unwarranted allegations of wrongdoing.”
They say every prior study blames the drinking water disaster on mistakes by government officials, not private contractors.