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Freedom Industries, the company responsible for the massive Jan. 9th West Virginian chemical spill that made tap water unsafe for more than 300,000 inhabitants, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Freedom Industries, wholly owned by Chemstream Holdings Inc., owns the storage facility that was responsible for leaking up to 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (a coal-cleaning chemical also known as crude MCHM) into Elk River.  The company is winding down its 51-employee operations.

Revelations Stemming from the Spill

For days, hundreds of thousands of residents in nine counties were ordered not to use water for bathing or drinking as the company scrambled to clean up. In the process it exposed disturbing vulnerabilities in the water supply and where the chemical is stored, as well as revealed the company’s lack of data about the hazardous chemicals. Just shortly after the spill, a second site owned by the company was cited for safety violations.

The Investigation in Ongoing

The bankruptcy filing will not have any effect on the ongoing investigation into the leak that is being lead by the U.S. attorney’s office in West Virginia. Currently Freedom Industries owes $3.66 million to its top 20 creditors. This includes more than $2.4 million in unpaid taxes to the IRS.

…and the President Wants to Get Paid

Meanwhile, Gary Southern, the president of the Freedom Industries wants to get paid for work completed during bankruptcy proceedings.

According to court documents, Southern has requested an order to collect paychecks for work following the company’s Jan. 17 bankruptcy filing.

According to the documents, Southern earns a $230,000 salary and last received a paycheck covering services through Jan. 19. Additionally, court papers show he worked 46 straight days through February 26.

Southern is requesting his paychecks be negotiated and issued until the company can appoint a chief restructuring officer.

For information and guidance on bankruptcy, you need the experts at Resnick Hayes Moradi LLP.

Source: Huff Post, Freedom Industries, Company Behind West Virginia Chemical Spill, Files For Bankruptcy, January 25, 2014

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