News, Culture and NPR for Central & Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
91.7FM Alpena and WCML-TV Channel 6 Alpena are off the air. Click here to learn more.

Federal judge denies bankruptcy to former Edenville dam owner

The aftermath of major flooding on Saginaw Road in Sanford on May 23, 2020.
Adam Miedema
The aftermath of major flooding on Saginaw Road in Sanford on May 23, 2020.

A federal court in Las Vegas has dismissed an attempted bankruptcy filing from the former operator of the Edenville Dam, Lee Mueller, for exceeding eligibility limits.

Following the failure of the dam in 2020, operator Lee Mueller was ordered to pay nearly $120 million to the state for his role in the collapse that impacted thousands of residents across Midland and Gladwin counties.

Mueller petitioned for chapter 13 bankruptcy in the Las Vegas court, where Mueller resides.

In his petition, Mueller claimed the amount of debt he owed to the state of Michigan was “unknown.” Because of this, he said the amount should not count towards the eligibility limit.

But the court denied his filing, ruling that Mueller knowingly concealed the true extent of his debts, which exceeded the eligibility limit for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which is capped at $2.7 million.

“Mr. Mueller has repeatedly made inaccurate representations to two different courts in his attempts to evade accountability and money judgments for his responsibility for the Edenville Dam disaster,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel in a written statement.

This ruling marks the second time Mueller has been found to be acting in bad faith by a federal court.

Renae is a newsroom intern covering northwest Lower Michigan for WCMU.