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More hearings scheduled for Freedom Industries bankruptcy motion

In the next few weeks, Freedom Industries will have at least two hearings in bankruptcy court to deal with various motions, including a final hearing on its financing motion.

Freedom Industries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Jan. 17, following the Jan. 9 leak of crude MCHM into the Elk River.

In last week's hearing on first-day motions, attorneys for West Virginia American Water and Freedom Industries reached an agreement for what's known as debtor-in-possession financing while Freedom reorganizes under Chapter 11 bankruptcy code.

In this agreement, Freedom would get a $3 million cash infusion from Mountaineer Funding with the potential for an extra $1 million later.  

The bankruptcy court set a final hearing at 1 p.m. Feb. 11 on Freedom's financing motion.

That same day, another earlier hearing will be at 10 a.m. on Freedom's motion to hire Chicago-based MorrisAnderson & Associates Ltd. as a financial advisor and the company's motion to hire Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti LLP as special litigation counsel.

In that same hearing, Freedom will appear on its motion to hire Babst, Calland, Clements & Zomnir PC as special environmental counsel.

According to MorrisAnderson's website, the company describes itself as a "middle market consulting firm focused on underperforming and distressed companies."

The firm offers financial advisory, turnaround and crisis management, investment banking, performance improvement and litigation support, the site states.

There also will be a meeting in the next month where creditors will ask questions of Freedom. However, this has not yet been scheduled.

Over the weekend, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin ordered Freedom Industries to remove all above-ground storage tanks from its Charleston facility by March 15, according to The Associated Press.

Freedom filed documents in bankruptcy court Saturday, notifying the court of the agreement reached with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

Under this consent order, Freedom agreed to remove materials from the Etowah River Terminal and decommission the Charleston facility.  

In the consent order, which does not apply to Freedom's Nitro facility, Freedom will continue operating the Charleston facility and sell materials while it removes it from the storage tanks.

According to the consent order, Freedom reported to the DEP that it removed about 269,419 gallons of the remaining facilities by Jan. 20.

The DEP said in the court filing that the number represents a 20 percent reduction from the Jan. 9 inventory of other materials.

Contact writer Andrea Lannom at Andrea.Lannom@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-5148. Follow her at www.twitter.com/AndreaLannom.


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