It’s Hard Out There for Gary Southern


The president of Freedom Industries, the company responsible for the MCHM spill that shut down businesses and schools for a week, sickened hundreds, and rendered thousands of others afraid to even shower in their running water, has asked the court to let him collect a salary while the company files for bankruptcy.

Gary Southern said, in a filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Saturday, that he hasn’t gotten paid since Jan. 19. The company, Freedom Industries, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Jan. 18. Chapter 11 allows a company to reorganize and continue operating, but its attorney has said the company is winding down.

Southern said in his filing that he worked between 12 and 16 hours a day for 46 consecutive days — from Jan. 10, the day after the spill, to Feb. 26. Since March 3, he said, he has worked 10 to 12 hours a day Monday through Friday.

Southern was working so hard he appeared before the media one single time after the spill. He was working so hard he skipped a House field hearing held last month about the spill.

Unfortunately for him the public won’t be the only ones who find his request amusing,

I was aware that Freedom Industries was facing financial trouble before the spill, but before reading the following passage from the Charleston Gazette, the scope of their trouble was beyond me.

There are about 240 unsecured creditors to whom Freedom owes money. Many of the unsecured creditors are those who filed lawsuits against the company before its bankruptcy filing. There are at least 30 lawsuits against Freedom.

Do they think Southern should get paid while he files for bankruptcy?

Do I think men like him should be thrown on the street? I’m not necessarily opposed to the idea. At the very least this should make other companies think twice about safety. This could be the consequence if you don’t take it seriously.

Gary Southern had a salary of $203,000 per year prior to the spill.