WARREN (WWJ) – Warren Mayor Jim Fouts is asking the Michigan Attorney General’s Office to investigate what he calls “illegal dumping” at Freedom Hill County Park in Sterling Heights.
In a letter to AG Bill Schuette provided to the media Wednesday, Fouts alleged that Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel allowed a contractor to dump excavated dirt at the landfill-turned concert venue — damaging methane gas vents, and causing leachate to flow from the site. [What is leachate?]
“Under what legal authority did Mr. Hackel approve this illegal dumping, why was this illegal dumping not reported to the MEDQ and the SMDA (South Macomb Disposal Authority) board?” Fouts said, in an interview with WWJ’s Zahra Huber.
“You have to understand, there was a consent decree that was signed many years ago that that landfill was not to be disturbed without the approval of the SMDA and especially the approval of the Michigan Department of environmental quality. He didn’t do that.”
Schutte did not immediately respond to the letter. [View a copy of the letter]
Hackel has said the dumped soil was used to level the parking lot and create a berm that would serve as a sound barrier for nearby homeowner and that there’s no health risk to residents —
“Based upon the information that I have received, both from Sterling Heights residents, Warren residents and Macomb County residents and people familiar with the county executive’s office and the excavator, I thought there was enough compelling reason by the public to investigate this,” the mayor said.
Fouts said he trust that Schuette’s office would conduct a fair and unbiased investigation that would “satisfy the public’s right to know.”
The mayor raised eyebrows last month with Facebook posts hinting at a major environmental scandal brewing that Fouts compared to the Flint water crisis.
The two have yet to face off about the issue. Hackle two weeks ago declined to debate the mayor during a TV news broadcast, and Fouts says he’s too busy to make it to Thursday’s “Innovate Mound” event which Hackle is also slated to attend.
“I’ve got a job to do,” Fouts added, taking a shot at the county exec: “Unlike Mr. Hackel, I don’t have a ceremonial job.”
Fouts also hinted at an undisclosed relationship between Hackel and the Freedom Hill dumper, posting on Facebook: “The question Mr. Hackel refuses to answer is did he go on the trips with the contractor in his private jet?” [Read more of Fouts’ Facebook posts here].
WWJ has a call out to Hackel for comment.