Attorney Says Subpoena 'Borders On Nonsensical' Given Time Frame
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Darnell Earley has been subpoenaed by the U.S House of Representatives' Oversight Committee to appear Wednesday morning to testify on the Flint, Michigan drinking water supply crisis. But Earley will not be there today and through his attorney is refusing the congressional subpoena, issued Tuesday evening.
Saying it "borders on nonsensical," Earley's attorney A. Scott Bolden told CNN his client "would give it every consideration if he had more time to prepare, was properly served and issued an appearance with a reasonable date."
Earley was the emergency manager for Flint from 2013 to 2015. During that time he oversaw the switch of the city's drinking water supply that quickly became a health catastrophe. GOP Governor Rick Snyder and his administration, including Earley, are being accused of ignoring residents' calls for help and scientific data both before the switch and after.
Thousands of children have been poised by lead as a result. Other contaminants in the water are so damaging the General Motors factory stopped using city water – it proved too corrosive – to wash engine parts. Only recently has the crisis gained national attention.
Earley now serves as the emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools, and announced he is stepping down at the end of the month.
“Mr. Earley was invited to appear before the [House] committee, but he has declined that invitation,” Detroit school district spokeswoman Michelle A. Zdrodowski told The Detroit News in an email. His attorney says the "subpoena is totally unenforceable."
Democratic Rep. Brenda Lawrence wants Earley to testify. She says the "two people who were the decision-makers, the governor and Earley, have not signed up to come and sit before Congress to explain what happened: When did you know, when did you act and where was the breakdown that allowed this to happen?”
CNN also notes Earley "was named as a defendant last week in a lawsuit by the teachers union that called for his ouster and accused officials of allowing the conditions at the schools 'to deteriorate to the point of crisis.'"