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Executive in WV Spill Pleads Guilty, Gets His Bentley and Millions Back


Executive in WV Spill Pleads Guilty, Gets His Bentley and Millions Back

Nadia Prupis, staff writer

Former Freedom Industries president Gary Southern on Wednesday pleaded guilty to pollution crimes for his company's role in a massive chemical spill in West Virginia in January 2014.

Southern is the last of six Freedom officials to plead guilty in the spill, which saw more than 7,000 gallons of hazardous waste pour from a damaged tank into West Virginia's Elk River—contaminating the state's largest public water supply, which serves 300,000 people.


and this is a good win for who and what?

All assets should be seized as collateral for the cleanup to as near original conditions as is possible.


What is wrong with BOTH jail time and financial restitution? They impose it on the poor people for minor offenses every day. In addition to jail time, this creep should be forced to help clean up the mess he created.


Make the bastards sign the checks for the clean up just before they’re locked in their cells! The same thing that they should have done with Slick Oily’s buddies the baniking criminals!


It depends on the size of the check, and of course the two aren’t mutually exclusive, are they?


This “ruling” proves the assertion that leniency is extended to they who have the means/wealth and the have-nots without means to pay counsel to represent them end up in prison along with being charged with exorbitant fines. The very idea that this sociopath exec can seriously jeopardize/threaten the lives and well-being of thousands of people/wildlife/fish and the environment through blatant ongoing negligence and then drive off in his Bentley on the way to his bank to access his million$$$ is reprehensible and demonstrates what a sham our legal/justice (justice is only for those with enough money to buy it) system has become. Southern should be made to pay restitution to everyone within 200 miles of the site of the spill.

Freedom Industries declared bankruptcy within days of the spill (Jan, 2014). Freedom Industries was immediately bought by Chemstream: “Chemstream is owned by Clifford Forrest, president of Rosebud Mining, a Kittanning, Pa.-based company he founded in 1979 and which is now the third-largest underground coal producer in Pennsylvania with 1,400 employees in Pennsylvania and Ohio.” The first thing Forrest did was name Southern the CEO who was also compensated $20 million in bonuses. For him a $300,000 fine is chump change. I would bet that the next step is for his jail time (sentence commuted) to be reduced to 100 hours of community service. Ugh!

Since the Reagan administration opened up corporations to merge with virtually no regulatory or legal impediments (with the “rationale” that such mergers/acquisitions would create more jobs…lies, lies, lies…their favorite MO); a large, thick, virtually impenetrable wall of protection from any and all consumer access was created. this wall has only grown over the last 30+ years. GWB and his band of brigands added an immeasurable amount of fortification to that wall.

Justice has not been served.


The guy could be out in 30 days? That is supposed to send a message? Sounds like he got off with a slap on the wrist. Gets his money back and is out in 30 days, real tough sentencing there.


The prosecutors dropped the felony charges, instead leaving the jerk facing some misdemeanors. They did not pursue the cleanup fees (beyond the measly $92k, when the cleanup will cost a hundred times that, not to mention all the water that had to be trucked in at the expense of the state), and although the judge himself points out that people can’t live without water, which this ass and his company took from them due to their willful negligence, he decided to let him off the hook. It is not only about jail time, which Southern surely will not serve, it IS also about money.

Money is the only language these guys understand. And obviously the judge is fluent in money talk.


Those who pollute our waterways with impunity should be subjected to forced enemas with their effluent. If it’s good enough for Gitmo…


He deserves to be jailed in either Turkey or Egypt, and a few ‘stress’ positions on the way there.


It is a good thing he isn’t the head of a homeless family that stole a box of bread to feed his family. He’d get a three to five years in jail and a $25,000 fine, if the cops didn’t beat him to death during the arrest.

  • I can see this bastard driving his Bentley to a Federal Minimum Security “prison”, wearing his Armani suit, bringing a few bottles of Chateau Lafitte Rothschild to tide him over for his month’s vacation in FedLand. Then it is back to screwing the peasants and banking the profits.
  • I’m sure he’ll send a large shrink-wrapped green bouquet to the judge to show his appreciation for giving him a few days off.
  • And, I imagine the jokers in the EPA will get a severe letter of reprimand with a positive injunction not to do it again, for poisoning the water supply of several states.
  • But, justice will out! I watched a film the other day on CD where a homeless veteran was reported to be “a black man waving sticks” (he was walking with crutches). Four cops jumped him, slammed him to the ground. One stood, then knelt on his legs while they put the cuffs on him, then another knelt on his back so he had his face on the pavement. Then one saw that he had a prosthetic, so they stripped his pants down almost to his knees, while still kneeling on his legs.
  • He lay there, bare assed, cuffed, with one guy on his legs and another kneeling between his shoulder blades for maybe ten minutes.
  • People filming this were upset at his treatment, so ten other cops materialized to make a cordon around the victim so the people couldn’t see what was being done to him.
  • Then I guess someone showed up with a wheel chair and they got him into it and, I suppose, took him to jail.
  • Just another black veteran amputee brutalized because he was walking while black, with crutches.
  • And people still ask who is running this country?
  • Sheesh!


As usual people with money and corporate criminals can always “make a deal” especially with a “sympatico” criminal “justice” system of the like-minded. Just the cost of doing business - make a deal for pennies on the dollar with a corrupt administration or judge and viola! No jail time and no admission of guilt!

In another related spill into the Animas River system here is a very informative piece on that.

And while we’re at it lets look at a future catastrophe in the making along Lake Huron, where “great minds” want to build a nuclear waste storage facility. It’s funny we haven’t heard about this in the US press…