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Two Years Later, Flood Victims Still Searching for Responsibility

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Two years ago, heavy rains led to the failure of two dams and the devastation of thousands of homes and several communities.

Two years later, those hit hardest are still dealing with the aftermath, without much help from those they say are responsible.

Nearly one thousand people say that is the state of Michigan.

Mike Callan is one of them. He and his family lived right along the Tittabawasee River. Two years ago, his home and two pole barns stood structurally sound; soon after the two dams broke upstream, all of it was gone. They are still waiting to find out who is liable and to be made whole.

“In the matter of 12 minutes, it was all gone,” Callan said.

Gone in 12 minutes, and now two years later the state, who maintained and owned the bridges that failed and devastated communities, has not yet claimed responsibility.

“For two years they’ve been filing what we believe are frivolous appeals,” said Ven Johnson, his attorney, “Delay, defend, deny, anything but stepping up and taking care of our clients.”

Nearly one thousand of those impacted are involved in the lawsuit seeking reprieve. Thirty of them are represented by Johnson.

“The state, and hopefully the federal government, will step up and to be held accountable and to admit responsibility,” said Johnson, “If that’s possible, and if they don’t, then to pay.”

Callan’s family lost everything on their property and are still paying for it.

“I’ve still have the mortgage payment, that hasn’t went away, I’m still paying that,” said Callan, “Had to relocate elsewhere and I’m paying that, so really I just got nowhere with it.”

The government admits the state’s dams and bridges need improvement and those living in Edenville don’t want to be told they are too late.

“We hear it or see it on TV about the billions being spent on infrastructure,” said Johnson, “No one, not anyone, has contacted us or our clients to say you’re going to be figured into this process.”