Solicitor General names new lead Flint investigator

    Flint, July 2018 | Michael Barera, Wikimedia Commons

    Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud has put a new lead investigator in charge of the state’s ongoing Flint water criminal probe and fired a former Detroit FBI director who had been in charge of it before.

    Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office announced Tuesday that Jeff Seipenko will now lead the ongoing investigation related to criminal charges against 15 current and former state and local officials over their conduct during the Flint water crisis.

    Jeff Seipenko

    Seipenko is a three-year member of former Attorney General Bill Schuette’s Flint investigation team and takes over from Andy Arena, the previous chief investigator.

    Arena, who was appointed by Schuette in that role, is the former director of the FBI’s Detroit office. He was relieved of his position, according to Nessel’s office.

    “Jeff Seipenko possesses the institutional knowledge and experience required to manage and direct all future investigative assets to bring these cases to conclusion,” Hammoud in a statement.

    This is the latest shakeup in the AG’s Flint water investigation since Nessel took office. Last month, she tapped Hammoud to head up the probe. 

    Seipenko has testified in the attorney general’s office Flint water crisis prosecutions, including testimony that former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon knew there was a connection between the city’s water crisis and an outbreak of deadly Legionnaires’ disease six months before that was public knowledge.

    Fadwa Hammoud

    Lyon now faces charges of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the outbreak, which killed 12 people in 2014 and 2015 and sickened others.

    Seipenko is a law enforcement officer with more than 32 years working on the force, according to Nessel’s office. That includes 29 years with the Dearborn Heights Police Department and experience working on narcotic and surveillance teams, among others.

    “We are committed to bringing justice to the people of Flint,” Hammoud said. “There is nothing more important to Attorney General Dana Nessel and to me than to bring these cases home.”

    Michael Gerstein
    Michael Gerstein covers the governor’s office, criminal justice and the environment. Before that, he wrote about state government and politics for the Detroit News, the Associated Press and MIRS News and won a Society of Professional Journalism award for open government reporting. He studied philosophy at Michigan State University, where he wrote for both The State News and Capital News Service. He began his journalism career freelancing for The Sturgis Journal, his hometown paper.

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