07 April 2016

Schadenfreude Alert

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and his Evil Minions are being sued under the RICO statutes:
Gov. Rick Snyder, high ranking former members of his staff and others are the target of a new federal racketeering lawsuit over the city's water crisis. The lawsuit also targets the city of Flint.

A group of 15 citizens filed the civil lawsuit seeking financial compensation for property damage, loss of business and financial losses attributed to the city's water crisis; as well as compensatory damages for future medical care and punitive damages.


The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, April 6, in Flint U.S. District Court, alleges Snyder, his former Chief of Staff Dennis Muchmore and others attempted to balance the Flint city budget through a pattern of racketeering activity.

"He wants to run the state like a business," attorney Marc J. Bern said of Snyder. "Well. The citizens of Flint, as shareholders in the corporation of the state of Michigan, I don't think they were treated in an appropriate way."

The lawsuit alleges that officials misrepresented the suitability of the Flint River water as the city's drinking water source for roughly two years and billed Flint residents at rates that were the highest in the nation for water that was unusable, resulting in the city's budget deficit being reversed.


The complaint names Snyder, Muchmore, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and multiple members of its staff, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and members of its staff, the City of Flint and members of its public works department, multiple engineering companies that were hired to evaluate the city's water system, former Mayor Dayne Walling and three of the city's former emergency managers.


The suit claims officials committed mail fraud by continuing to mail water bills to Flint residents, which they allege fraudulently misrepresent that the city is providing safe, clean water to its residents.

They further allege officials continued to make statements claiming the water was safe despite being aware of growing concerns over the quality of the water.

The lawsuit also alleges the defendants committed wire fraud by allowing residents to pay their water bills online or with credit cards despite knowing the water was toxic.

A RICO lawsuit requires attorneys to prove that the wrongdoing was part of an ongoing enterprise. If successful, the law allows triple the amount of damages to be paid.
I'm not generally fan of the expansive use of the Rico statutes, but this does appear to be a reasonable use of the law.

H/t Charlie Pierce


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