The state of Michigan is sinking in legal fees amidst the ongoing Flint water crisis, reports NBC News.
According to the outlet, nearly $14 million of the state’s funds has been allocated towards acquiring lawyers from 33 law firms. The amount of money is expected to rise as Attorney General Bill Schuette looks to prosecute former state employees who are paying their criminal defenses with taxpayer money. NBC News reported that Schuette has gone through $4.4 million for his investigation.
The Department of Environmental Quality has spent close to $3.8 million on outside attorneys to defend its employees against lawsuits brought by Flint residents, writes the source. Former department director Dan Wyant and former communications director Brad Wurfel, who both resigned two years ago, are having at least $463,000 of their legal fees covered by those funds.
The Health and Human Services Department has racked up nearly $1.1 million in legal fees for 18 of it’s current and former employees for not warning Flint residents about the lead levels in the water, reports the outlet.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s office has reportedly spent $4.2 million on two law firms for civil cases and “records management issues and investigations.”
“The millions spent on legal fees could be used to save people from losing their homes and ensuring safe water for everyone,” Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich told NBC News. “Instead taxpayers are stuck picking up an even larger tab for a crisis that could have been avoided if this administration had put people first from the start.”
On Wednesday, the state of Michigan filed a lawsuit against Flint after the city failed to approve a contract for a clean water source in Detroit.
SOURCE: NBC News