CBx Daily

Flint Residents Getting Financially Hydrated With $626 Million Payday

Nov 16

By CultureBanx Team

  • Residents of Flint settled with the state of Michigan for $626M in their lead-contaminated water crisis case
  • For Flint, the city is more than 50% Black with about 40% of the population living below the poverty line

Residents of Flint are getting their long overdue money from the state of Michigan that has settled the $626 million lawsuit. The KWA pipeline that spurred the lead-contaminated water crisis left many people with unusable water. This deal makes money available to every Flint child who was exposed to the water, every adult who can show an injury, certain business owners and anyone who paid water bills.

Why This Matters: This Flint water crisis is a glaring example of how capitalism and environmental racism can coexist to the detriment of Black communities. For Flint, the city is more than 50% Black with about 40% of the population living below the poverty line. If you couple this information with the potential for the government and banks to make a return on their investment, it’s easy to understand how this resulted in an ongoing national tragedy.

The state of Michigan was accused of repeatedly overlooking the devastating risks of switching Flint's water source in 2014 without treating the water to prevent contamination. "The settlement reached here is a remarkable achievement for many reasons, not the least of which is that it sets forth a comprehensive compensation program and timeline that is consistent for every qualifying participant," U.S. District Judge Judith Levy said.

While engineering companies and government officials have previously come under fire for their roles in the Flint water crisis, residents in the community are now setting their sights on the three investment banks that sparked the epidemic. More than 2,000 residents are pursuing a civil lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Stifel, Nicolaus, & Co. for underwriting a bond that allowed the city of Flint to pay for the KWA pipeline that spurred the water crisis. Despite the massive health implications of funding the $220 million municipal bond for Flint, the banks moved forward with the plan, prioritizing long term financial gain over the well-being of the area's residents.

A federal judge recently heard arguments seeking a dismissal in a $2 billion lawsuit worth of damages for Flint, Michigan residents, from the banks they believe were behind their water crisis. Plaintiffs’ attorneys argue without the bond financing to join the KWA, Flint would not have switched its water source to the Flint River. Improperly treated river water caused Flint’s water crisis. However, the banks are arguing that they were asked to line up financing for the pipeline and it had nothing to do with Flint’s water plant. The judge promised to issue a decision in the banks case as fast as she can.

Situational Awareness: Interestingly enough, attorneys have been seeking as much as $200 million in legal fees from the $626 million settlement. That’s  actually insane and would leave very little money for the people who were actually impacted by the lead-laced water.

CBx Vibe:Water” Kehlani