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This profile was last updated on 12/30/14  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Mr. Gary Southern

Wrong Gary Southern?
 
Background

Employment History

154 Total References
Web References
An attorney for Gary L. ...
www.wvgazette.com, 30 Dec 2014 [cached]
An attorney for Gary L. Southern, the former president of Freedom Industries, asked a federal judge Monday to immediately stay forfeiture proceedings against Southern, arguing federal prosecutors are trying to strip him of all assets accumulated throughout his working life.
The allegations in the indictment against Southern dont show that his home in Florida or his Bentley were derived from the financial crimes he is accused of -- or that those assets relate in any way to Freedom Industries, Southerns attorney, Bob Allen, wrote in the motion.
Earlier this month, federal prosecutors charged Freedom Industries and six of its owners, managers and employees with criminal violations of the Clean Water Act related to the January 2014 chemical leak that contaminated the drinking water of 300,000 people in Charleston and surrounding communities.
Southern, Dennis P. Farrell, William E. Tis and Charles E. Herzing were each charged with three counts of violating federal environmental laws.
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Southern has also been charged with profiting from the sale of goods to Freedom by companies that Southern owned or in which he had a substantial interest. In addition to the environmental charges, Southern faces six counts of bankruptcy fraud, one count of wire fraud and three counts of making false oaths or attempting to conceal his assets, all related to statements he made after the leak.
The bankruptcy-related charges allege that Southern lied about his role with Freedom, claiming he was only a consultant to the company, not an executive, in an attempt to shield his personal wealth from lawsuits related to the leak. The U.S. Attorneys Office has sought warrants to seize more than $7 million from accounts belonging to Southern or a company he owns, saying they are profits from the crimes they allege.
Goodwin said after Southern was indicted Dec. 17 that federal officials are seizing Southerns assets and that they will be held through the court proceedings.
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The United States believes the proceeds of the financial-related charges against Southern include Southerns entire net worth, Allen wrote.
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In other words, the United States seeks to strip Mr. Southern of all assets accumulated throughout his working life for alleged crimes which occurred in 2014 but which did not result in any profit or gain to Mr. Southern, Allen wrote.
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As set forth below, the crimes with which Mr. Southern is charged were non-monetary in nature and resulted in no profit or gain or proceeds to him.
Farrell and Southern have filed motions asking that Goodwins office be removed from prosecuting the case saying that they were victims of the chemical leak and thus cannot be impartial prosecutors.
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Southern, described by the indictment as the former chief operating officer, is charged for his involvement with the company from May 2009 through Jan. 9, 2014.
Unlike his three co-defendants, Allen wrote, Southern was never an owner of Freedom or its affiliated entities -- Etowah River Terminal and Poca Blending.
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Southern owned or had a substantial interest in IWL Inc., Blackwater Group LLC and Enviromine Inc., which did business with Freedom. Southern sold Enviromine to Freedom in Oct. 2013.
The sale of Enviromine and any assets Mr. Southern may have received from that sale predated the MCHM leak, Freedoms bankruptcy, and Mr. Southerns alleged violation of those statutes on which the forfeiture claim is premised, Allen wrote.
Last week, Goodwin said in the ...
www.wchstv.com, 16 Dec 2014 [cached]
Last week, Goodwin said in the wake of charges that were filed against former Freedom Industries President Gary Southern that the criminal investigation into the chemical spill is not over, and he expected further developments soon.
Southern, the ex- president of the West Virginia company behind the January chemical spill, faces bankruptcy fraud, wire fraud and lying under oath charges.
An FBI investigator said in a criminal complaint that Southern lied in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Charleston about his role with the company.
The complaint unsealed last week in U.S. District Court in Charleston said Southern tried to protect his $7.7 million net worth from lawsuits.
It states Southern started May 2009 as chief operating officer, and was on the board of directors from March 2010 to October 2013.
In bankruptcy court, Southern downplayed his role before a December 2013 merger.
The legal bills were filed in ...
www.wvgazette.com, 17 Dec 2014 [cached]
The legal bills were filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Charleston on Monday, a week after authorities charged former Freedom Industries President Gary Southern with a bankruptcy fraud scheme related to the Jan. 9 chemical leak that contaminated the drinking water supply serving hundreds of thousands of people in Charleston and surrounding communities.
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Word that Freedom has approved a plea agreement comes as federal authorities moved this week to freeze some of Southerns personal assets and a request by Southern that Goodwin be disqualified from prosecuting criminal charges that accuse Southern of lying about his role running Freedom in a scheme to protect his personal wealth from bankruptcy court and civil lawsuits arising from the chemical leak.
On Monday, lawyers for Southern filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Charleston asking that Goodwin be disqualified. The motion also asks that all of Goodwins staff and any federal investigators working for his office be prohibited from working on the case.
Also Monday, Wright sought seizure warrants covering more than $7 million from at least three different accounts listed in the name of Southern or a company he owns called IWL Inc., according to documents filed in federal court. U.S. Magistrate Judge Dwane L. Tinsley approved the warrants, and officials said the government was in the process of seizing Southerns assets.
In the disqualification motion, Bob Allen, lead defense lawyer for Southern, argued that federal officials in Charleston have a conflict of interest in the case because they as well as their families, friends and neighbors were victims of the chemical leak.
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Allen argued that Goodwin, his staff and federal investigators currently working on the case could benefit from any money recovered from Southern for the bankruptcy case, class-action lawsuits over the chemical leaks impacts, and any restitution ordered as a result of criminal convictions in the matter.
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The impact of the chemical spill was widespread, the motion filed for Southern said. Everyone at the United States Attorneys office was affected at work and many of them, including their families, were affected at home Every employee of the United States Attorneys office was in the same position as everyone else mired in the ordeal and thus, they and their families are actual victims.
Among other things, the motion also argued that an unbiased third party would question whether Southern is being overcharged or charged too aggressively and being prosecuted for acts related to the chemical spill to vindicate personal interests or placate the victims of the water crisis many of whom are friends and relatives of members of the United States Attorneys office or to gain access to [Southerns] personal wealth for those who have suffered through the ordeal.
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Last week, Southern was charged in a federal criminal complaint with bankruptcy fraud, lying in a bankruptcy case and committing wire fraud by filing false documents in Freedoms ongoing bankruptcy proceeding.
Federal authorities allege that Southern lied about his role in running Freedom and its Etowah Terminal along the Elk River in an effort to avoid personal liability for the conditions that led to the leak of MCHM and other chemicals.
For example, Southern testified that he was not part of the Freedom organization prior to December 2013, testifying at a Jan. 21 bankruptcy court hearing that he worked for Freedom only as a part-time financial-type consultant. Authorities allege that Southern actually was the chief operating officer of Freedom starting in May 2009 and served on its board of directors from March 2010 to October 2013.
Working with the FBI, Goodwins office charged Southern through a federal criminal complaint, rather than a grand jury indictment, and moved quickly last week to have Southern arrested in Florida, where Southern owns a home on Marco Island. Southern is currently free on a $100,000 unsecured bond after appearing before a federal magistrate judge in Fort Myers, Florida.
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In an affidavit filed with the original criminal complaint, Lafferty had noted that Southern had in February 2014 moved $6.5 million from an account with Wells Fargo Bank to a Jackson National Life Insurance Co. annuity, one of the accounts covered by the seizure warrants.
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Allen complained in his motion to disqualify Goodwin that this transfer was as unbelievable as it may be the reason that federal authorities moved to charge Southern and arrest him in Florida.
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The fact that Mr. Southern was arrested at his home in Florida on December 8, 2014, without notice to his attorneys, when the government knew he was represented by counsel, and without any factual basis to believe he was a flight risk, again shows loss of impartiality or the appearance thereof.
Freedom Industries President ...
www.fortwayne.com, 9 Dec 2014 [cached]
Freedom Industries President Gary Southern repeatedly told investigators he had little to do with the company before it was sold a few weeks prior to the January chemical spill. But an FBI affidavit said Southern had overseen day-to-day operations at the chemical storage company, hired employees and executed contracts for several years, according to a complaint unsealed Monday.
Southern also negotiated the sale in December 2013, including how much money would be set aside to deal with necessary repairs at the site, the complaint said. Investigators discovered holes in tanks, shoddy last-resort containment walls and other deficiencies.
Southern has denied wrongdoing. He was arrested in Florida on Monday and faces charges of bankruptcy fraud, wire fraud and lying under oath. If convicted of all the charges, he faces up to 30 years in prison.
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"All of the statements indicate or suggest an effort to defect blame from Southern for the discharge of (the chemical) MCHM into the Elk River, which resulted in the denial of water to thousands of people and businesses, for most uses, for several days."
Southern's public image suffered when he appeared unsympathetic to much of an entire valley of people lacking clean water.
The day after the spill, he told reporters he had a "long day" and tried to leave a news conference multiple times. He swigged a bottle of water in front of TV cameras, while many people across nine counties were ordered to use tap water only to flush toilets.
"Look guys. It has been an extremely long day," Southern said Jan. 10. "I have trouble talking at the moment. I would appreciate if we could wrap this thing up."
Southern was arrested in Florida, where he owns a home on Marco Island. He is scheduled for an initial court appearance in Fort Myers on Tuesday.
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The affidavit said Southern had a "substantial motive" to downplay his employment with Freedom. He was trying to protect his net worth of at least $7.7 million from dozens of lawsuits already filed over the spill and any potential new ones, according to the affidavit. Many businesses sued Freedom, Southern, the regional water company and other related parties because the tap-water ban shuttered their operations for days.
Creditors are seeking more than $176 million. Many involved in the case don't think much money will be left, however, and point to Freedom's proposed $2.9 million insurance settlement as the biggest pot of money.
The affidavit said Southern started May 2009 as chief operating officer with direct oversight over the Charleston facility where the spill occurred. He also was on the board of directors from March 2010 to October 2013.
In bankruptcy court, Southern described his role as a "part-time, financial type consultant to help the owners of that business get their finances and systems kind of back on track."
He said he was involved only "superficially" in Chemstream's purchase of Freedom. He also told a committee of creditors, under oath, that he was not part of the Freedom organization before the acquisition, the affidavit said.
Attorneys for Southern did not return a phone message for comment Tuesday.
Southern was fully aware of the lawsuits facing him and the FBI and EPA investigations into possible Clean Water Act violations.
In bankruptcy court hearings and ...
www.altoonamirror.com, 10 Dec 2014 [cached]
In bankruptcy court hearings and meetings, former Freedom Industries President Gary Southern repeatedly said he had little to do with the company before it was sold a few weeks prior to the January chemical spill. But an FBI affidavit said Southern had overseen day-to-day operations at the chemical storage company, hired employees and executed contracts for several years, according to a complaint unsealed Monday.
...
"All of the statements indicate or suggest an effort to deflect blame from Southern for the discharge of (the chemical) MCHM into the Elk River."
Southern negotiated the sale of Freedom Industries to Chemstream Holdings Inc. just weeks before the spill, and discussed how much money would be set aside to deal with necessary repairs at the site, the complaint said. Investigators discovered holes in tanks, shoddy last-resort containment walls and other deficiencies.
Southern, who has previously denied wrongdoing, faces charges of bankruptcy fraud, wire fraud and lying under oath. If convicted of all the charges, he faces up to 30 years in prison.
He was arrested in Florida, where he owns a home on Marco Island, and was released Tuesday on a $100,000 bond. His next hearing is in West Virginia on Dec. 18.
Southern's public image suffered when he appeared unsympathetic to much of an entire valley of people lacking clean water.
The day after the spill, he told reporters he had a "long day" and tried to leave a news conference multiple times as he swigged a bottle of water in front of TV cameras.
"Look guys. It has been an extremely long day," Southern said Jan. 10.
...
The affidavit said Southern had a "substantial motive" to downplay his employment with Freedom. He was trying to protect his net worth of at least $7.7 million from lawsuits, according to the affidavit. Many businesses sued Freedom and the regional water company because the tap-water ban shuttered their operations for days. Some sued related parties, including Southern.
Creditors are seeking more than $176 million. Many involved in the case don't think much cash will be left, however, and point to Freedom's proposed $2.9 million insurance settlement as the biggest pot of money.
The affidavit said Southern started May 2009 as chief operating officer with direct oversight over the Charleston facility where the spill occurred. He also was on the board of directors from March 2010 to October 2013. After Freedom was sold to Chemstream, Southern made $230,000 a year as Freedom's president, according to court records.
In bankruptcy court, Southern described his role before the sale as a "part-time, financial type consultant to help the owners of that business get their finances and systems kind of back on track."
He said he was involved only "superficially" in Chemstream's purchase of Freedom. He also told creditors, under oath, that he was not part of the Freedom organization before the acquisition, the affidavit said.
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"We just feel like Gary is being unfairly singled out," Allen said Tuesday.
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Southern was fully aware of the lawsuits facing him and the FBI and EPA investigations into possible Clean Water Act violations, the affidavit said.
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