The Slatest

Lawsuit Accuses Flint Mayor of Diverting Water Crisis Donations Into Campaign Account

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver at a hearing on the toxic lead water crisis on Feb. 10, 2016 in Washington, D.C.  

Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images

There’s a lot of blame to go around for the Flint water crisis, but a federal lawsuit filed Monday against the city’s mayor claims even attempts to make things right have been fraught with mismanagement and corruption. The suit was filed by former city administrator Natasha Henderson, who alleges she was wrongfully fired from her post in February after she tried to initiate an investigation into Flint Mayor Karen Weaver after she learned Weaver was allegedly diverting funds earmarked for water crisis charities into a campaign account.


From the Detroit Free Press:

… [T]he suit alleges that Weaver directed a city employee and volunteer to steer donors away from a charity called Safe Water/Safe Homes, and instead give money to the so-called “Karenabout Flint” fund, which was a political action committee or campaign fund created at Weaver’s direction. According to the lawsuit, a city employee told Henderson in confidence that she and a volunteer had previously been directing donors to the City of Flint’s website, where they could give money to the Safe Water/Safe Homes charity, which helped families affected by the water crisis. But Weaver directed them to steer donors to the “Karenabout Flint” website, which the city council had not approved, the suit claims.

Henderson was hired in 2014 as the city’s administrator, the highest ranking unelected post in the city. Three days after Henderson reported the alleged violation to the city’s chief legal counsel, she was fired. The suit claims that Mayor Weaver told Henderson that the state no longer had the budget to fund her position; Henderson informed her the city administrator job is funded by the city, not the state. “The mayor and city staff do not comment on pending litigation,” a city spokeswoman said.