The Michigan Daily-Sunday, December 11, 1977-Page 9
still seek answers
GRAND RAPIDS (UPI)-Nearly five
years ago, workers at a southern
Michigan feed mill unwittingly dum-
ped a little-known chemical called PBB
into a mixer of cattle feed and touched
off the worst agricultural disaster.in the
Now federal authorities- have begun
to look into the tangled web of events
surrounding the PBB poisoning of
Michigan livestock to determine if it
was more than simply a tragic mistake.
On Nov. 28, just 40 days after he took
office, U.S. Attorney James Brad3'filed
the first criminal charges to emerge
from the PBB incident, accusing the
two firms blamed for the initial mixup
with misdemeanor violations of federal
food and drug laws.
THE TWO FIRMS are Farm Bureau'
Services, Inc., which mixed and sold
the tainted feed, and Velsicol Chemical
Co., corporate successor of Michigan
Chemical Co., maker of the toxic fire
retardant polybrominated biphenyl.
They face a maximum fine of $1,000 for
each of four counts contained in the in-
While Brady admits the charges
could be interpreted as "too little and
too late," especially by the hundreds of
Michigan farmers whose businessnes
were wiped out by PBB contamination,
he says there may be much more to
Brady appointed a special task force,
consisting of two assistant U.S. attor-
neys and two FBI agents, to investigate
all aspects of the PBB outbreak and its
aftermath to determine if anyone in-
volved in the incident, including state
and federal regulatory agencies,
engaged in criminal activities.
"I don't have an ax to grind and I'm
not saying I believe there were
criminal violations," Brady said. "I
just have some questions about it-the
same questions a lot of people
have-and I want them answered."
Those questions, a spokesperson in
Brady's office said, include:
+ Did officials of Farm Bureau or
Michigan Chemical try to coverup their
mistake after it was discovered in the
summer of 1974 and allow the tainted
livestock feed to continue to be sold?
" After PBB contamination was
discovered and identified and
provisions were made for the quaran-
tine and disposal of tainted animals, did
the two firms as well as state and
federal agriculture officials, allow
quarantined animals to be sold in inter-
* How much did state and federal
regulatory agencies, including the
Michigan Department of Agriculture
and the U.S. Food and Drug Ad-
ministration, know about the
seriousness of the PBB outbreak,
did they do all they could have to
Brady's task force will not be the first
federal investigators to look into the
PBB matter. Grand juries in Grand
Rapids and Detroit studied some aspec-
ts of the case a year ago, focusing
primarily on the events surrounding the
mixup itself and any resulting criminal
No indictments were returned.
That fact has led to some criticism of
the new U.S. attorney by those who say
he is trying to make political hay out of
the issue. Others, including two former
U.S. attorneys, say Brady may be
needlessly going over ground that has
alreadly been covered.
"I don't know what caused Mr. Brady
to procede with the charges," said
Philip Van Dam, former U.S. attorney
for the Eastern District of Michigan.
"IT'S HIS prerogative to file
whatever charges he wants, but that in-
formation was looked at by a grand
jury and no ture bill was returned."
Frank Spies, Brady's predecessor in
the western district, refused to com-
ment on the grand jurgs probe, but said
he found no evidence of a covsup.
"If there's something there th't
amounts to a coverup, I hope he finds
it," Spies said. "I felt I didn't have tli
resources to send out attorneys to it
vestigate that sort of thing on a fulltinfe
Spokespeople both for Farm Bureau
and Michigan Chemical refused comi
ment on the federal investigation.
A legislative spokesperson for
Michigan farmers who were hard hit by
the PBB outbreak said while the far-
mers welcome the federal probe, they
would rather see the government talk
steps to help them recoup their lossel
than punish the perpetrators.
"Justice should be done and thos'e
people should be held responsible," th6
spokesperson said. "But the charges
don't begin to reflect the size of the in;
jury. Just because they are called to
task on misdemeanor criminal
charges, it does not mean they've paid
for their crime. That's ludicrous."
Residency rules unpredictable;
students play the $9,000 game,
(Continued from Page 1),
a retired Navy officer, claimed
Michigan as a home state. The student
chose to attend the University. He also
chose not to tell the University that his
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Returning
American prisoners, most complain-
ing of hopelessness and some of
torture, were reunited briefly with
their families yesterday.
The 61 Americans talked of light
subjects - vacations, Christmas and
even the relative luxury of U.S.
THE RETURNING prisoners -
and an 18-month-old girl born in a
Mexican jail - were processed here
yesterday after they were flown
home Friday in the first leg of the
Mexican-American prisoner ex-
Sixty-six more Americans were to
be flown from Mexico City to this
border city later yesterday.
The group underwent physical
exams, and except for one returnee
who had an epileptic seizure, all pris-
oners were declared in good health. A
small group of prisoners then met
with reporters and once again picked
up the thread of what seems to be
their common theme.
"THE U.S. government was just no
help to us at all," as one of them put
Most of the prisoners, though often
admitting guilt, portrayed them-
selves as victims of a U.S.-Mexican
effort to look good in a coopera-
tive drug crackdown initiated by the
KAREN HARRISON of Santa Ana,
Calif., said that a U.S. Drug Enforce-
ment Agency officer was witness to
her torture when she was arrested on
drug charges in Mexico more than
four years ago.
"I had my jaw broken. I was hit
around the face and I had my
earrings torn from my ears," she
said. "All of this was done in the
presence of a DEA agent. I know this
because I was shown his credentials
- Arthur Sedillo, badge number
"He never made an effort to stop
DEA officials were not immediate-
ly available for comment on the
father has retired - and that upon re-
tirement, the family's residency status
moved to Virginia.
Although these cases may be only
stretching the rules, some students
actually lie about their addresses.
One student said she has two per-
manent addresses, and simply used
one that happened to be in Michigan.
She has never before lived in
Michigan. 'I'm not going to tell you
anything else," she said flatly.
"If a student is sandbagging
somebody in the admissions process,
the University can retroactively
assess fees," Katz commented.
There may be a break in sight for
residents of Ohio, Indiana, Wiscon-
sin, and the Canadian province
across the Detroit River, Ontario.
State Rep. Perry Bullard (D-Ann
Arbor) is sponsoring a bill that would
allow residents of those places to pay
in-state rates at Michigan, Michigan
State and Wayne State.
The plan would be reciprocal -
that is, Michigan residents would
receive the same break at colleges in
those places. The bill has passed the
House, and now sits in the hands of
the Senate Education Committee.
Approximately 2,400 s t u d e n t s
would be affected by the bill, accord-
ing to Katz's figures. Most of them
are from Ohio.
Non-residents can also receive an
Academic Recognition Scholarship.
This is a $500 stipend based not on fi-
nancial need but on academic record.
If the non-resident has a greater
need, he will be considered for other
forms of financial aid, according to
Jim Zimmerman, another assistant
director of financial aid.
Once an out-of-stater is declared a
resident, he or she can receive state
finanical aid money just as easily as
a born-and-bred Michigander, said
Michigan resident Tischler said fi-
nancial aid helped her make her
decision. "I wouldn't have been able
to stay without residency. The (Of-
fice of Financial Aid) did give me a
lot of money," she said.
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