It seems that corruption and Flint are two words that go together when it comes to the beleaguered post-industrial Michigan city.
As reported by The Daily Caller, a newly filed lawsuit filed by the former city administrator claims that she was fired after she raised concerns that the mayor’s office may have redirected funds meant for the victims of the city’s recent water crisis to the mayor’s campaign fund.
CNN reported further that the claimant, Natasha Henderson, contends that Flint Mayor Karen Weaver ordered city employees to stop potential donations to a charity called Safe Water/Safe Homes last February. The charity, which is overseen by the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, was established specifically to aid those who were negatively impacted by the city’s lead-tainted water [see Health Ranger Mike Adams’ citizen-led effort to test drinking water all over the United States at EPAWatch.org here].
The suit claims instead that city employee Maxine Murray was told by Weaver to begin routing donations to “Karenabout Flint.” The suit says that Murray approached Henderson “in tears” and in fear of “going to jail.”
For her part, Weaver deferred any media inquiries to her legal counsel, but she did nevertheless say something about the allegation.
“It saddens me that someone would attempt to taint me as Mayor of a city that is dealing with a major public health crisis, which has affected every man, woman and child in Flint,” she said. “I will continue to work hard to serve the people of Flint, seek support for our residents, and secure the necessary resources from generous donors from around our great nation to help the city and citizens I have been elected to serve.”
The news network noted further:
CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of “Karenabout Flint,” and it does not appear in any state tax registries. “Karen About Flint” was Weaver’s campaign slogan when she ran for mayor in 2015, and her Twitter handle is @karenaboutflint.
Murray could not be reached for comment.
The suit nevertheless claims that the redirection of funds was made without the approval Flint’s city council or the receivership transition advisory board, which was established to assist the city with its transition from being under state financial control. CNN noted that city officials also would not comment on the suit, citing the pending litigation.
As many are aware, Flint has been making its way through a destabilizing water crisis for the past two years. Last year, hazardous levels of neuro- and brain-damaging lead were found in scores of samples of residents’ tap water after the city decided to switch its water source from the Great Lakes to the Flint River, to save money.
In November, Weaver managed to defeat a fellow Democrat sitting mayor by running on a platform to fight for Flint residents who had lost faith in the current administration and who believed the city had not done enough to protect them from the lead-tainted water. Part of the plan was replacing several city employees.
CNN reported further:
Weaver announced Henderson’s firing in February 2016 as part of a change in personnel that included the city’s police and fire chiefs. At the time, she said in a statement, “I’m doing what I told the people who voted for me that I would do. My focus is moving the City of Flint forward and I feel these personnel changes are necessary to keep us on the right path.”
In Flint, Weaver is very popular and has been praised by Democrats at the state and federal levels. She has even visited the White House on behalf of the city and hosted President Obama during a recent visit to the city.
Henderson was brought in as an integral part of Flint’s recovery in early 2015, according to her lawyer, Katherine Kennedy Smith. Henderson pledged full support to Weaver when she worked for the city.
“It was not until this report that there was any discussion of her being fired,” Kennedy told CNN. “My client was brought in to help the City of Flint. She did a very good job in that regard. She did the right thing here to report this red flag, and she was punished for it.”