UPDATE: Mayor Fouts explained himself later in the day in an interview with WWJ Newsradio 950
WARREN (WWJ) – What potential disaster is brewing in Macomb County?
Warren Mayor Jim Fouts has backtracked a bit after announcing on social media that a major environmental scandal is developing in Macomb County, and it could cost the taxpayers “millions of dollars.”
“I’m closely watching this development,” Fouts posted at 11:11 p.m. Wednesday. “If what I heard and understand is true this could cost the taxpayers a good deal of money and somebody must be held accountable for this unacceptable mess. This is a developing situation. Could be a mini version of what happened in Flint.”
Fouts has yet to explain exactly what he’s talking about, and many residents aren’t pleased.
“Don’t drop a bombshell like that and leave us hanging. Please, Mr. Mayor, we need to know,” wrote Nancy Bakanowicz.
“Mini version of Flint? Right away I see environmental and think water,” commented Johanna Kolar. “Is our drinking water safe Mr. Mayor?”
“Let your residents know what you’re talking about! Are you a Fox 2 news anchor, or the Mayor,” said Heather Twigg.
In a later post, that appeared at 11:37 a.m., Fouts said just viewed the Facebook comments, adding: “I want to assure everyone in Warren that our water is safe and there is no environmental problem in our city. There is however an issue of some importance but I’m not able to discuss that issue only to say that it is being dealt with and hopefully will not cost as much as I was originally told. I’m not going to point the finger at any individual or city, but only wait and see if this issue is taken care of as soon as possible.”
In a reply to specific comments, the mayor clarified that, whatever it may be, the problem isn’t in Warren, he “never said it was in Warren,” and that there’s “no danger.”
In yet another response, Fouts against stressed that it’s not a problem with the water, adding that that he’s “waiting to get all of the facts before saying anything else.”
At a news conference, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel told reporters that there is not thing wrong with the drinking water in Macomb County, condemning Fout’s actions on social media “absolutely deplorable.”
“(It’s) very disappointing to create that kind of hysteria here in Macomb County,” he said, adding that his office has fielded multiple calls from residents concerned about Fouts’ statements.
Hackel accused Fouts of exploiting the crisis in Flint.
Meantime, a spokesperson for the county told WWJ that officials don’t know what Fouts is talking about and that they’re seeking more information. Hackel said he hasn’t been able to get a hold of Fouts.
It’s unclear if this could be in any way connected to an ongoing federal investigation into corruption in the county.
Calls by WWJ to Fouts were not immediately returned.