Flint Township joins lawsuit against county

FLINT TWP. — The township board has agreed to become a plaintiff in a lawsuit initiated by the Genesee County Drain Commission against Genesee County and the Board of Commissioners.

At issue is a share of refunds from health care premiums paid under a county cluster plan.

The drain commission is spearheading litigation to recoup its share of refunds of surplus payments from Blue Cross Blue Shield returned to the county from 2001 -2008, according to a lawsuit dated Oct. 24.

The Flint Township board unanimously passed a resolution at its Monday night meeting to join the lawsuit as a plaintiff. As a water and sewer customer of the drain commission, Flint Township and its residents are directly impacted.

The suit filed in Genesee County Circuit Court seeks a judgment in excess of $8.1 million plus interest and court costs which plaintiffs claim is now owed by tripling an amount in excess of $2.7 million the county received in refunds during the years in question.

“This astounds me that this could have gone on for so long without anybody knowing about it,’’ said Trustee Frank Kasle said.

He asked if passing the resolution would incur legal cost to the township.

Township Supervisor Karyn Miller, who already is a plaintiff in the lawsuit as a resident, said no and that all legal costs will be reimbursed if the suit is successful.

In the suit, the drain commission claims it was not made aware that the county was receiving refunds from Blue Cross from surplus of premiums paid that exceeded claims made.

“At the direction of the Genesee County, Blue Cross would deliver a refund check to Genesee County following the end of each plan year with such refund checks being made payable solely to Genesee County,’’ the suit alleges.

“Genesee County never communicated to the Genesee County Drain Commissioner that it was receiving these substantial checks for refunds from the Blue Cross Plan.’’

The drain commission claims it paid its share of premiums under the group plan but did not receive a share of refunds. The suit alleges that the money was placed in the county’s general fund. “Numerous demands’’ by the drain commission for repayment have been refused, the suit states.

The lawsuit alleges seven counts including breach of contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and misappropriation of public funds.

Other plaintiffs in the suit include Jeffrey Wright, drain commissioner; Fenton Township; Paula Zelenko of Burton, Marilyn Hoffman of Grand Blanc Township, David Guigear of Mundy Township, Rick Caruso of Clayton Township and residents of other county municipalities.

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