"The debtor and investigative authorities have taken note of the hole in the affected storage tank that appears to have come from an object piercing upwards through the base of the affected storage tank. Investigations by multiple agencies are ongoing with full cooperation by the debtor," bankruptcy documents state.
Freedom and its Etowah subsidiary own four parcels of land along the Elk River, with a total appraised value of about $1.6 million, according to Kanawha County tax filings.
Freedom and Etowah own personal property -- in the form of machinery and equipment -- with a total appraised value of about $3.7 million, according to tax filings.
A full account of filings that Freedom and its subsidiaries have made with the West Virginia secretary of state helps reveal a little bit more of the company's opaque corporate history. Since 1992, Freedom and its associates have made 12 filings, to found companies, dissolve companies, merge companies and change officers.
The company, as currently constituted, has existed for less than three weeks. On Dec. 31 2013, four companies merged under the umbrella of Freedom Industries: Freedom Industries Inc., Etowah River Terminal LLC, Poca Blending LLC and Crete Technologies LLC.
Of those four companies, Freedom was the oldest. It was founded by Carl L. Kennedy II, a longtime Charleston businessman, on Feb. 10, 1992. Its listed address at that time was 8 Capitol St.
Seven years later, on Oct. 13, 1999, Kennedy was listed as the incorporator of Poca Blending, with partners listed as Freedom Industries and SD Asset Partners. Poca Blending is the facility in Nitro where chemicals were moved a few days after the leak on the Elk River was discovered.
Four years after that, on Sept. 27, 2001, Etowah River Terminal was founded by Dennis P. Farrell. Etowah River Terminal is the tank farm on the Elk River where the leak occurred. The facility was formerly owned by Pennzoil-Quaker State.
On July 27, 2005, Kennedy, the founder of Freedom and Poca, pled guilty to federal income tax evasion for not paying the government more than $1 million he had withheld from employee paychecks.
A week later, on Aug. 3, 2005, Etowah and Poca Blending had their licenses revoked by the secretary of state for failing to file annual reports.
Two months after that, on Oct. 5, 2005, Farrell replaced Kennedy as president of Freedom Industries.
On March 1, 2007, Andrew G. Fusco, a Morgantown partner in the law firm Bowles Rice, was listed in a secretary of state filing as "agent of service of process" for Freedom Industries.
Six months after that, on Oct. 8, 2008, Crete Technologies was established as a limited liability corporation in Delaware. Dennis P. Farrell was listed as the organizing agent, and Freedom Industries was the sole owner of Crete.
On Nov. 15, 2011, Etowah River Terminal, which had its license revoked six years earlier, was reorganized as an LLC for the purposes of "providing investment advice" and "acting as owner of a river terminal facility." Dennis P. Farrell was listed as the organizer.
Just two months ago, on Nov. 26, 2013, Poca Blending reorganized as an LLC. The manager was Dennis P. Farrell and the organizer was Daniel J. Cohn, an attorney with Bowles Rice in Charleston.
There is no record of Chemstream Holdings, the company listed as Freedom's owner on the bankruptcy filing, with the West Virginia secretary of state.
Freedom owed federal taxes for the years 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
The total amount owed to the IRS is $2,433,449.15, according to the three liens.
Harry Bell, whose law firm has filed lawsuits on behalf of plaintiffs, said Freedom's bankruptcy filings puts all the lawsuits on hold.
"[The filing] stays the litigation until bankruptcy court addresses the matters involved," Bell said.
West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Randy Huffman said Friday night: "At this point, Freedom has committed to continuing its cleanup effort. Any contingency to that would consist of a plan developed by many parties, including [the] DEP. Funding determination would be part of that planning process.
"While details have not yet been fully developed regarding how to fund the remediation in such a scenario, the remediation efforts will still continue as long as necessary."
Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.
Reach David Gutman at david.gut...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5119.