Schuette Adds Special Counsel & Ex-FBI Chief to Flint Water Probe

Contact: Andrea Bitely 517-373-8060

  

January 25, 2016      

       

     LANSING — Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced he has named former prosecutor Todd Flood as Special Counsel in his probe of the Flint water crisis and that retired Detroit FBI chief Andrew Arena will also join the investigation into whether any Michigan laws were violated in the process that created a major public health crisis for Flint residents.

     Special Counsel Flood will spearhead Schuette’s investigation and be joined by Arena. Both will report to Schuette.

     Because the Department of Attorney General has a dual responsibility to represent the people of Michigan and defend the State of Michigan when sued, Schuette is following the decades-long practice of Michigan attorneys general by establishing an ethics-based conflict wall between him and his investigation team, and the team defending the governor and state departments against Flint water-related law suits.

     “We will do our job thoroughly and let the chips fall where they may,” said Schuette. “I have every confidence in Todd Flood, Andrew Arena and our team to work with me on this independent investigation. This investigation is about beginning the road back, to rebuild, regain and restore trust in government.”

     “This independent investigation will be exhaustive and thorough. Without fear or favor, I will carry out my responsibility to enforce the laws and protect the families and citizens of Flint."

Flood is a former assistant prosecutor who served Michigan residents for a decade in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, the state’s largest county and home to the City of Detroit. As a prosecutor, Flood worked in the homicide, drug house and trial units. He is now a private practice attorney based in southeastern Michigan who specializes in both civil and criminal litigation.

     “Attorney General Bill Schuette is doing the right thing by conducting an investigation into this crisis of public health and public trust in their government,” said Flood. “It is a privilege to have this opportunity to serve and to provide Michigan residents with an impartial answer to the question of whether any state laws were broken.”

     Arena was the Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Detroit Field Office from 2007 - 2012. Arena served the FBI in several capacities in a law enforcement career spanning more than two decades. He has led the Detroit Crime Commission, a non-profit organization aimed at reducing criminal activity, since 2012.

     “I am honored to return to public service on a case so important to the public trust,” said Arena. “We will enter the investigation with open eyes and follow the facts, whatever the outcome, and Flint families and Michigan families will receive a full and independent report of our investigation.”

     Lawsuits filed against the governor and the State of Michigan will be supervised by Chief Deputy Attorney General Carol Isaacs and Chief Legal Counsel Matthew Schneider. An example of a previous “conflict wall” case includes the Detroit bankruptcy, in which Attorney General Schuette fulfilled his responsibility as defender of Michigan citizens by protecting the pensions of City of Detroit police and firefighters, while a separate legal team in his office represented the governor and other departments of Michigan government. Many other such cases have taken place over the past 54 years during the service of Michigan’s last four attorneys general. 

 

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