The family of imprisoned ex-Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick shared a letter purportedly written by him claiming the Flint water contamination crisis dates back as far as 2004.
The letter says that while Kilpatrick was in office, he and Flint officials “attempted to craft a deal to put them on our [Detroit’s] water system” because Flint couldn’t produce contaminant-free water.
"Former Michigan Governor, Jennifer Granholm, was well aware of the issues with the Flint Water Department, and their inability to produce contaminant free water moving forward, nor afford the equipment & technology to do so," he reportedly wrote.
Kilpatrick’s letter — written from prison — seeks to add pressure on Gov. Rick Snyder who is already under fire for the water crisis.
While many people, including iconic singer Cher, have already called Snyder out for knowing about the crisis but choosing to ignore it, Kilpatrick is the first to put such an extensive time frame on it.
"When the current Governor of Michigan says that he 'only recently was made aware of this issue,' he is being misleading at best," Kilpatrick wrote. "But more than likely, he is being viciously, aggressively, and deliberately untruthful."
There are, however, some discrepancies in Kilpatrick’s claims. Flint had already been connected to Detroit’s water system for several years up until 2014 when they switched and made Flint River the city’s main water source, according to Michigan news publication MLive.
Another inconsistency is that a rise in lead levels in children’s blood was just discovered in 2015 and an uptick in cases of Legionnaires’ disease was revealed at the start of 2016.
Kilpatrick also gripes in his letter about his 28-year prison sentence and how his crime is not as severe as Snyder’s.
“I am here in prison, with a 28-year sentence, for a case where there is NO EMBEZZLEMENT, NO MISUSE OF PUBLIC FUNDS, NO BRIBERY, NO STEALING OF ANY MONEY, as a matter of fact, NO PUBLIC MONEY AT ALL. And NO CHARGES THEREOF! 99% of Detroiters have NO idea why I'm here," Kilpatrick wrote. "They don't know the charges, nor what I'm sentenced for. They sure do know the rumors.”
He continued, “I wonder how much time you get for knowingly & actually delivering unsafe, dangerous, and poisonous drinking water to the people you represent? Which in-turn [sic.] causes deaths, permanent illnesses, and disabilities. Can you actually be hated, hurt, and imprisoned for ridiculous rumors about murder... and not be for actually killing people?”
This rant-like section of the letter sounds a bit like he is less concerned with “revealing the truth” for the sake of the residents and more worried about throwing Snyder under the bus to make his own crimes seem miniscule in comparison.
Kilpatrick and city contractor Bobby Ferguson were convicted in 2013 of conspiring to extort other Detroit-area contractors by pressuring them to include Ferguson's companies in city-funded jobs, according to MLive.
Apparently, because his crimes were related to his own greed and didn’t necessarily endanger residents, he has a higher moral compass than Snyder.
Ultimately, whether Snyder learned of the crisis 10 years ago or 10 minutes ago, there is still no excuse for his mishandling of the situation while in office. He is undoubtedly wrong for not immediately stepping up and doing something about it the very moment he was made aware.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Carlos Barria