Flint Lead Pipe Replacement and Possible Corruption
Interesting that we have not heard anything about possible corruption regarding Flint choosing lead pipe replacement companies.
I could not find any articles written in a Michigan newspaper concerning a company chosen by the city of Flint to replace some of the lead pipes, which caused the Flint water crises. It took an article in a national news site the Daily Caller to find out that there may be corruption within the city of Flint.
The Daily Caller is reporting that the city of Flint has given $22 million dollars to a company that had zero experience in replacing lead water pipes. The company in question is named WT Stevens. The contractor is a general construction company and has a very basic website which shows a picture of a home being built.
In the article a Flint Councilwoman, Eva Worthing, told The Daily Caller News Foundation:
The city ignored a model showing where lead pipes are and paid to dig up every yard, the vast majority of which had copper pipes, according to meeting minutes. The city also prohibited contractors from using an efficient method of digging holes known as hydrovac excavation.
That leveled the playing field for a contractor, WT Stevens, with no experience or the appropriate equipment — and let it bill far more to taxpayers, she says. All of these factors, she adds, needlessly led to more waiting for anyone who actually has lead pipes.
She went on to tell the Daily Caller:
The city “chose to dig up yards that they knew were copper, and they decided to hand dig instead of hydrovac…That was because WT Stevens didn’t have the ability, and you get more money [digging by hand]. It costs $250 [to hydrovac] versus thousands” to dig a large hole without the equipment.
What I believe adds to the concern of corruption is on April 27, Councilman Eric Mays said:
“We’ve taken in over $647 million. This is where the money is at. We’ve received about $167 million for pipe replacement.” He added that he’s “proud” that Flint “broke records for giving black folks money” through contracts, naming WT Stevens. The company is owned by Rhonda Grayer, a black woman and wife of a former NBA player.
What does it matter that this Councilman is so proud that “black folks” were given these contracts? The contracts should go to the companies that have experience in the work and bid the contract at a reasonable price. If it comes down to two companies with similar experience and cost then they can decide using other factors in choosing which company receives the taxpayer funded contracts.
In fact the Daily Caller is reporting that a Flint-based company named Goyette Mechanical, whom already performs water main work throughout the state and actually has a division called “municipal utilities,” did do a portion of the pipe replacement in the city of Flint initially, but was ultimately passed over for the latest round of water contracts. The Daily Caller reported:
Goyette provided the lowest bid, but a city official said there was a problem with it and started the process over, according to The Flint Journal.
Sounds like there may be more to the smell in the city of Flint besides the lead in the water. Could that odor also be the smell of corruption?
Why aren't Michigan newspapers and other media reporting on this?