Gladwin Co. Community Divided On $11 Billion Drain Commissioner Lawsuit

Gladwin County Drain Commissioner, Robert Evans, is facing a $11 billion civil suit from the Department of Environmental Quality.

Not million, billion.

The DEQ states that because Evans didn’t follow the DEQ’s rules that the soil is eroding and sediment is entering the waterways.

9&10 News talked with people in Gladwin to get their thoughts on the news.

The Gladwin City Park manager, Brian Junjman, says that the Chappel Dam has flooded three times in the past two years. This caused more than $95,000 in damages. Jungman says Evans didn’t properly let the water drain out of the dam when it started to overflow back in February.

“We need someone who knows what they’re doing that’s the big thing. I’m pretty sure it’s computerized up there at the dam but when you know you’re going to have five inches of rain coming in, you got to let the water out. It just makes common sense,” said Junjman.

Jungman says that if Evans would have done his job properly the problem in the park wouldn’t have happened.

Loraine Gunderson lives in Gladwin County and has also experienced frustration with the drain commissioner. Six years ago Evans turned her creek into a ditch. Gunderson says the ditch was supposed to be four feet deep and 16 feet wide. It is now 30 feet wide and 10 feet deep. She spent her life savings on her 12 acre property but is only able to use eight of those acres because of the ditch.

“I think they should come here and fix these ditches. If he would have come out every day with a hand shovel for three hours and at least he would have shown good will,” said Gunderson.

Gunderson also says her ditch was one of the inspection spots that the DEQ looked at while investigating Evans. All she wants is her ditch to be fixed but says she keeps being turned away from the county.

But not all locals think he’s done a bad job.

Wayne Scott has been living in Gladwin County since 1947 and has not had any problems with the drain commissioner. He says the drain in front of his house was fixed by Evans and that he did a good job fixing the drains.

Jody Longstreth was born and raised in Gladwin County and she thinks the amount of money Evans is being sued for is absurd.

“Bob is the kind of man that will put his own money out to make sure what needs to be done gets done. For people to sue him for that amount of money is absurd,” said Longstreth.

The DEQ tells us that their highest priority is fixing Evans’ violations to prevent any more environmental damage.

The county commissioners have support from state senator Jim Stamas to remove Evans from his position and the governor may decide whether or not Evans will remain as the county drain commissioner.

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