Chemical company whose spill shut down W.Va. water supply finds itself under deep scrutiny

The consequences from a chemical spill that tainted drinking water for some 300,000 people in West Virginia mark the biggest crisis yet for the company responsible for the leak.

The U.S. attorney his investigating the spill, and numerous businesses have sued Freedom Industries because they were forced to close and lost money until the water was safe again.

Company officials have repeatedly declined to comment. But court and financial documents provide a window into the little-known and lightly regulated firm.

Freedom Industries traces its start back to 1992, when it was founded by Carl Kennedy II and Dennis Farrell. However, Kennedy later pleaded guilty to tax fraud. Prosecutors accused Kennedy of withholding more than $1 million from employees' paychecks between 2000 and 2003 — and diverting some of that money for his personal use.