Midland-area dam operators file for bankruptcy protection

Michigan

The remains of the Edenville Dam, as seen on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 in Edenville Township north of Midland. (Jake May/The Flint Journal, MLive.com via AP)

BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) — Two companies that own or operate dams that failed in the Midland area have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, which would allow them to reorganize their finances.

Boyce Hydro and Boyce Hydro Power owe at least $6.1 million for a series of loans through Chicago-based Byline Bank, according to a filing Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Bay City.

“Individuals and business owners whose property was damaged in the flooding have asserted millions of dollars in … claims against the debtors, including via numerous class action and individual lawsuits that have been filed since the flooding occurred,” co-manager Lee Mueller said in a 47-page statement that accompanied the filing.

Contractors that helped stabilize the dams also haven’t been paid, Mueller said.

The Edenville dam failed during a steady rain in May, draining Wixom Lake and unleashing the Tittabawassee River. The river then overwhelmed the Sanford dam, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) north of Detroit.

Mueller said Boyce Hydro and Boyce Hydro Power “do not believe that they in any way caused the flooding — quite the opposite.” He blamed regulators and an insistence on a high lake level.

“I am personally devastated and am in despair for all property owners who have been impacted — many of whom I know personally,” Mueller said.

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