UPDATE: Former Emergency managers charged in Flint water crisis

Published: Dec. 20, 2016 at 10:55 AM EST
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More charges have been filed by Michigan's attorney general in the investigation into the lead-tainted water crisis in Flint, Michigan, including against two former state-appointed emergency managers.

Attorney General Bill Schuette on Tuesday charged former emergency managers Darnell Earley and Gerald Ambrose with multiple 20-year felonies for their failure to protect the residents of Flint from health hazards caused by contaminated drinking water.

Schuette also charged Earley, Ambrose and Flint city employees Howard Croft and Daugherty Johnson with felony counts of false pretenses and conspiracy to commit false pretenses in the issuance of bonds to pay for a portion of the water project that led to the crisis.

"Flint deserves better, the people of Flint are not expendable," Schuette said. "Flint was a casualty of arrogance, disdain, and a failure of management."

Schuette says Ambrose and Earley were more concerned about money when they illegally used an $85 million dollar bond to fund a water pipeline project, a project that required the city change its water source even though the treatment plant wasn't ready.

Former city employees, Croft and Johnson are accused of helping secure the bond then pressuring water treatment employees to get the plant up and running.

"So many people knew that plant was not ready and so many people said don't do this and yet it was done," said Chief Investigator Andy Arena. "That's the thing that shocked me and I keep asking myself 'what were they thinking? Why would you do this?' I haven't gotten a sufficient answer yet other than greed."

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver called it a piece of justice her city deserves but she says it will never truly right the wrong.

"Does it replace the kids or the seniors that have been damaged? No it doesn't but they need to be help accountable," Weaver said.

Something Schuette vows he'll continue to do.

"If you've done something wrong then you outta be worried," he said.

Jerry Ambrose and Darnell Earley have long records of public service in Mid-Michigan.

Before coming to work for the city of Lansing, Ambrose worked for Ingham County from 1986 to 2005 as County Controller.

Ambrose then moved to the city of Lansing as Finance Director and Executive Assistant to Mayor Virg Bernero and also served on the capital city's "Financial Health Team".

“Jerry is one of the most honest, decent, incredible, and dedicated public servants that I’ve ever known,” said Bernero.

Bernero tells News 10 he's confident Ambrose will be cleared of all charges announced by the Attorney General.

“If Jerry Ambrose is guilty then you’ve got charge everyone up and down the administration who relied on information that they were given,” said Bernero. “I certainly don't believe that Jerry would ever put up with endangering public safety, that's certainly not the Jerry Ambrose I know.”

Darnell Earley spent seven years working in Ingham County, first as Budget Director and then as Deputy Controller.

Darnell Earley was also named to the "community review team" which was created in 2014 to examine the Lansing Board of Water and Light's failures regarding the December 2013 ice storm.

Earley was chosen to represent Delta Township, where he currently resides.

Earley was one of a few people asked to testify in front of congress about the Flint water crisis earlier this year.

He claimed he was quote "grossly mislead" by experts about the lead in Flint's water during his time as the city's emergency manager.