Flint prevails in former city administrator's whistleblower lawsuit

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DETROIT (WJRT) (5/14/2019) - A federal jury ruled in favor of Flint in the federal whistleblower lawsuit brought for former City Administrator Natasha Henderson against Mayor Karen Weaver.

Natasha Henderson sued the city of Flint after Mayor Karen Weaver fired her in 2016 from her position as city administrator.

Henderson claimed she was unjustly fired in 2016 after criticizing how Weaver handled donations during the Flint water crisis and is owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.

But Weaver contended she had justification for firing Henderson after she didn't disclose a Legionnaires' disease outbreak.

An eight-person jury in U.S. District Court began deliberations Tuesday afternoon after a week-long trial. They returned a verdict in favor of the city after a couple hours.

The case hinged on who knew what, when did they know it and whether money donated to the Flint water crisis was used properly.

Henderson's attorney raised questions about money donated to the Flint water crisis. She was concerned the mayor had asked money be shifted to her political fund.

Henderson's team brought in 14 witnesses over the last week to prove their case. They're asking the city to pay a couple hundred thousand dollars to Henderson after she lost her job and wasn't able to find a new one.

They also want distress damages, saying that since the firing Henderson has dealt with post traumatic stress disorder nightmares, anxiety and even a gambling addiction.

The city's legal team says the mayor had just learned that Henderson knew about the Legionnaires' outbreak and didn't tell her. That's why Weaver said she fired her.

Henderson was one of the final members of the state's team, hired by the emergency managers before the water crisis began in the city.

The mayor's attorney said Weaver ran on the platform of restoring the public's trust and Henderson's silence about the deadly disease outbreak would not be tolerated.

A verdict in the case is possible Tuesday afternoon.