A lawsuit filed yesterday in Detroit U.S. District Court claims a former city employee was fired after reporting that Mayor Karen Weaver (D) was telling staff to direct donations for the water crisis into her personal account.
[Natasha] Henderson filed a federal lawsuit Monday, May 9, in Detroit U.S. District Court, claiming she was fired from her position after asking the city attorney’s office to investigate claims Weaver may have been telling city staff and volunteers to send potential water crisis donors to her own personal account, rather than the official fund managed by the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.
The suit alleges that Weaver’s executive assistant, Maxine Murray, told Henderson in early February “she feared going to jail” after the mayor instructed her to divert donations from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint’s Safe Water/Safe Home Fund to a fund called “Karenabout Flint.”
The lawsuit claims Murray allegedly told Henderson that she was specifically directed to tell donors and potential donors step-by-step how to donate to the Karenabout Flint fund through its website, rather than instruct them in the steps to donate to the Community Foundation’s fund.
The Safe Water, Safe Homes Campaign Fund was set up by the city to accept donations for the upkeep and maintenance of the Flint water distribution infrastructure.
Plaintiff Henderson says she told the interim city attorney to “promptly initiate an investigation of this matter in your capacity.” City attorney Anthony Chubb allegedly replied, “I will take prompt action and advise you later today.” Henderson claims she followed up with Chubb one more time when she did not hear back from Chubb.
Within hours, Henderson says she was called into Weaver’s office and told that she was being fired because Weaver had met with state officials and was told that the state could no longer fund Henderson’s salary.
The lawsuit claims Henderson told Weaver she was paid by the city and not the state. Weaver did not respond and demanded Henderson turn in her keys and remove all personal effects from her office.
Henderson claims she is under contract until 2020 and that the contract can only be terminated by agreement from the mayor, city council and RTAB.
No response has been filed to the suit.