A bank sales manager in Flint, Michigan has resigned after a recording emerged of him using a racial slur while blaming the city’s water problems on African-Americans.
Phil Stair, a longtime employee of Genesee Land Bank, stepped down after he was recorded telling water activist and journalist Chelsea Lyons: “Flint has the same problems as Detroit – f*****g n*****s don’t pay their bills, believe me, I deal with them.”
Stair made the remarks while driving through Flint on the way to a restaurant with Lyons and another friend whom he had met earlier that evening. The recording of their conversation was later released to Truth Against The Machine.
Genesee Land Bank is Flint’s largest property owner. A non-profit organization, the firm takes over foreclosed homes. The firm claims its mission is to “restore value to the community by acquiring, developing and selling vacant and abandoned properties in cooperation with stakeholders who value responsible land ownership.”
Lyons told the Flint Journal she was concerned about the Land Bank’s role in the local property market.
“The Land Bank is taking up all of the properties in Flint… They are pushing people out of the neighborhood,” she said.
Michele Wildman, executive director of the Land Bank, accepted Stair’s resignation Monday.
“I am deeply troubled by [the statements]. The citizens of Flint deserve to have trust in their public officials,” she said.
Concerns have grown in Flint that more homes will be foreclosed on as residents continue to struggle with increased water bills and property taxes.
Earlier this year, the city served notices that unpaid water bills could result in property foreclosures for more than 8,000 residents. The water, meanwhile, remains toxic and unusable.