Judge Questions West Virginia Spill Company’s Fees

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A federal judge is questioning whether highly paid lawyers are helping keep money in a bankrupt company that spilled chemicals into West Virginia's largest water supply.

Bankruptcy Judge Ronald Pearson in Charleston on Tuesday questioned Freedom Industries' almost $2 million in consulting and legal bills from January through March.

Specifically, Pearson expressed concerns that two firms hired by Freedom were meeting with Freedom's criminal defense council. Pearson said he didn't know how claimants and creditors could benefit from that work.

Freedom is under multiple federal and state investigations.

Freedom's spill caused a water-use ban for days for 300,000 people in January. Dozens of businesses and people sued. Many said they lost wages or profits while storefronts were shuttered without clean water.

Those lawsuits are temporarily frozen by bankruptcy proceedings.