A Flint, Mich., official has tendered his resignation after water activists recorded him using a racial slur and racially charged stereotypes as he pointed blame for the city’s water crisis.
Phil Stair, the sales manager of the Genessee County Land Bank, handed in his resignation after being recorded blaming the city’s water crisis on “fucking niggers [who] don’t pay their bills.” Stair’s resignation was accepted by the Land Bank’s executive director, Michele M. Wildman, on Monday, MLive reports.
“I am deeply troubled by [the statements],” Wildman said. “The citizens of Flint deserve to have trust in their public officials.”
As the report notes Stair, who is white, was recorded making the disparaging and racially charged remarks by Chelsea Lyons, an environmental activist and independent journalist. The recordings were first posted online on a website called Truth Against the Machine. According to the report, they were made while Stair was driving to a restaurant with Lyons and another person.
“Flint has the same problems as Detroit … fucking niggers don’t pay their bills; believe me, I deal with them,” Stair is heard saying on the recording, which was made May 26.
“I don’t want to call them niggers; shit, I just went to Myrtle Beach [with] 24 guys, and I was the only white guy,” Stair added (because of course he has black friends). “I got friends. I mean, there’s trash and there’s people that do this shit. They just don’t pay their bills. Well, Detroit didn’t collect on their bills, so they charged everybody else, but Flint, Flint had to pay their bill to Detroit.”
Stair made his comments while attempting to explain to the activists his version of how the water crisis went down, claiming that the city was forced to use the contaminated water from the Flint River after Detroit jacked up prices to account for its own unpaid water bills.
“Detroit was charging all its customers for the cost—they weren’t collecting from their residents, they were shutting water off, they were letting bills go forever, they were charging everybody else. Flint has the same problems as Detroit: Fucking niggers don’t pay their bills; believe me, I deal with them.”
He is also heard calling tenants of Flint houses “derelict motherfuckers” and “fucking deadbeats.”
Lyons said that she is concerned, given Land Bank’s role as Flint’s biggest property owner. As MLive notes, the agency takes over tax-foreclosed properties and carries out demolitions, rehabilitations and sales.
“The Land Bank is taking up all of the properties in Flint. … They are pushing people out of neighborhood,” Lyons told MLive.
The recording of Stair took place over two days and started after Lyons and another woman met him after receiving a tip that he was at a local bar.
Lyons added that she plans to release more recordings from the conversation over the coming days.
“There are more audio files coming. … We’re not going to let this die,” Lyons told MLive in a separate report.