UPDATE: Two aldermen send letter to Milwaukee County DA asking to consider charges in lead crisis
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The City of Milwaukee Health Department released the following statement regarding the lead program investigation:
"In late 2018, the Mayor’s Office and all Alderpersons were notified that a criminal investigation was underway by District Attorney Chisholm’s office. This is an ongoing investigation; the City of Milwaukee Health Department is fully cooperative. As of today, we have not been informed of an end date but will continue to work with the District Attorney’s Office. Our main focus it to reassure the public that we have made significant progress in rebuilding the program, and, that we have a comprehensive program in place to respond to lead-poisoned children."
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Two Milwaukee leaders want to make sure the people involved in the mishandling of the city's lead program are held responsible.
In a joint letter, Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton and Alderman Bob Donovan are asking the DA's office to investigate further.
“We felt that it was important to have the district attorney's office, the experts if you will, the investigators, the experienced trained investigators to look at this entire issue," said Donovan.
They want District Attorney John Chisholm to consider possible charges for health officials who were once in charge of the troubled program.
"We certainly uncovered a lot of incompetence. Does that rise to the level of criminality? We don't know, we're asking the experts," Donovan added.
In its own investigation, the Common Council discovered many children who were in the hospital for lead poisoning, were sent back to their hazardous homes with approval by the Health Department. Some families also weren't notified their kids had high lead levels.
That resulted in a number of employees being ousted at the department, including Bevan Baker, the former health commissioner.
The Fresh Water For Life Action Coalition is also pushing for Chisholm to review the matter.
"You just don't for three years not alert families of what has happened to their children when their blood lead levels show it has risen," said Robert Miranda, spokesman for the coalition. "Three years is not an accident. For us, that's intentional."
The DA’s office, along with the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation has been looking into the mismanagement of the lead program for several months.
In a letter responding to Hamilton and Donovan, Chisholm said once the investigation is over, he will report the findings to the Common Council.