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Lawyer pledges to continue to pursue lawsuits brought by late Flint city council member Eric Mays

Lawsuits brought by the late Flint city councilman Eric Mays may continue, says his attorney (file photo)
Steve Carmody
Michigan Public
Lawsuits brought by the late Flint city councilman Eric Mays may continue, says his attorney (file photo)

The death over the weekend of Flint city councilman Eric Mays does not mean the end of numerous lawsuits the controversial politician has pending against the city and others.

Joseph Cannizzo is an attorney with a law firm that has been representing Mays in several of his lawsuits.

Cannizzo says the cases are in both federal and state courts. He says the state cases include, Mays’ lawsuit over a brief suspension by the city council last summer and against the process the City of Flint is using to determine how to spend tens of millions of dollars of federal American Rescue Plan funds.

In November, a circuit court judge dismissed Mays' ARPA lawsuit, labelling it frivolous. At the time, Mays pledged to appeal the court’s ruling.

Cannizzo says the federal lawsuits involve alleged violations of Mays’ civil rights.

Cannizzo says the councilman’s death does not mean the litigation dies with him.

“If Mr. Mays could communicate a message from beyond the grave, I think he would say that he would fully support us continuing to fight,” said Cannizzo.

Cannizzo says at the moment Mays’ attorneys are discussing how to proceed with the various legal cases and decide if new plaintiffs need to be added to litigation.

Eric Mays died of natural causes Saturday. He was 65.

During his decade on the Flint city council, Mays was a passionate advocate for his ward and questioner of how the city’s elected leaders spent public funds.

But Mays was often abrasive and combative with his fellow council members. On many occasions, the First Ward councilman would be suspended, or ejected from council meetings. There were a few times Mays was escorted out of a meeting in handcuffs by a city police officer.

Last April, a judge sentenced Eric Mays to a six-month probation on a charge of disorderly conduct for an incident at a council meeting in 2022. At the time of his death, Mays was still serving a three-month suspension from the Flint city council.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.