Hackel denies claims of a cover up, Fouts calls for state investigation

- After being accused of covering up an environmental violation at Freedom Hill, one Macomb County executive is shutting it down.

"(In) 30 years as a cop for God's sake, never have I been accused of even violating a traffic law. But to have this guy, who I have my own thoughts and opinions of him, give an impression when he knows full well everybody's been alerted to this, and we don't even know what he's talking about," said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts has come out publicaly to accuse Hackel of a cover up at Freedom Hill in Sterling Heights.

"An illegal dumping of a 150,000 yards of excavated dirt on top of the landfill, which is owned by the SMDA," Fouts said, referring to the South Macomb Disposal Authority. "You can only change something if you get the approval of the (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality) and SMDA."

The county executive countered by saying the allegations are bogus, and that there isn't a secret about anything that may have been addressed.

"It's about methane gas blowing things up, it's about ... stuff going into the water, every other kind of allegation you could imagine and yet having known all of the issues dealing with the Freedom Hill incident, we know that the SMDA and the chair being fully aware of the problem over at Freedom Hill, have been addressing it and working at it. So now it has gone from this crisis with Flint to turning it into some kind of allegations of a cover-up. What is it that isn't known publicly?" Hackel said.

Hackel says he feels the mayor's allegations are for his own political agenda, and stands firm that he's not involved in a cover up, also saying Fouts has made similar allegations about him in the past.

"I would never do this to another public official. If there's an issue, let's try to figure out how do we solve it? This particular mayor has a history -- has a pattern of it," Hackel said.

FOX 2 also spoke to the chair of the SMDA, Kip Walby, who says there is no cover up. He says all issues at Freedom Hill are being addressed, and says the DEQ has not found any health concerns.

Meanwhile, Fouts says he is calling for a state investigation into the matter.


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