press release


News from Progress Michigan

March 11, 2016

Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574,

Progress Michigan Files Legal Complaint Against Gov. Rick Snyder

Failure to create a legal defense fund for actions in Flint runs counter to law

LANSING — Today, Progress Michigan filed a complaint with the Michigan Secretary of State against Governor Rick Snyder for his failure to create a Legal Defense Fund. The complaint alleges that Rick Snyder is in violation of the Act by failing to establish a legal defense fund to pay the costs of two contracts to provide legal defense for him personally, not the State of Michigan, in connection with the Flint Water Crisis. Next week, the State Administrative Board will meet to decide on whether approval of two contracts providing personal legal services for the governor should be paid for by the taxpayers.

“Gov. Snyder is worth an estimated $200 million dollars, but he thinks that the working people of Michigan should pay for his legal defense,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “Rick Snyder has continuously passed the buck for his actions in Flint and now he wants to pass the hat to the taxpayers of Michigan to pay for his own legal defense. Any public money being used related to the Flint Water Crisis needs to go to fixing the pipes, full bill reimbursement and wrap-around services for the community.”

The Legal Defense Fund Act makes clear that any legal defense of an elected official should be paid with private funds raised and reported under that Act , and that the governor should be required to create an LDF because the already signed contracts provide personal legal defense and services for Gov. Snyder. The first contract with Warner Norcross and Judd is addressed to Snyder and signed by him. It states that Snyder has retained their services for “legal advice and representation related to any criminal investigations and prosecutions and related claims arising from the Flint water supply matter.” The second contract with several attorneys of Barris, Scott, Denn & Driker also provides legal services personally to Snyder.

“The Administrative Board should not approve these contracts next week because the taxpayers of Michigan should not be required to pay for Rick Snyder’s personal legal defense. Taxpayers were not asked to pay for the legal defense of Kwame Kilpatrick, Todd Courser or Cindy Gamrat and Rick Snyder is no better or different from them,” Scott continued. “It is incomprehensible that after destroying Flint’s water supply in the name of balanced budgets Snyder is seeking his own personal government bailout. The governor’s shame knows no bounds.”

A copy of the complaint can be found here. Contracts can be found here and here.


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