CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Charleston Mayor Danny Jones said city leaders will begin making plans to file a lawsuit over the water crisis starting Wednesday or Thursday.

“We are not sure who the defendants will be and we’re not sure who the plaintiffs will be,” according to Jones.

The mayor said damage was done to several other agencies connected to the city and those groups could get involved. At least one, possibly two law firms, will handle the case.

It’s been two weeks since the water crisis began. Up to 7,500 gallons of MCHM leaked into the Elk River from an above ground tank at Freedom Industries and into the West Virginia American Water treatment plant just down stream. On Tuesday, Freedom’s President Gary Southern admitted another chemical, PPH, had been mixed in with the MCHM in that tank as an additive.

The fallout from the water crisis has already cost the city $120,000 in lost tax revenue. However, the mayor said the damage goes far beyond that figure.

“This will be used against us trying to recruit people to come here. This will be used by our competitors,” explained Jones.

Charleston has seen a big bump in tourism over the past decade thanks to hard work by the city and the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau. Jones said those tourism dollars are in danger.

“It’s very discouraging. These people didn’t deserve this. These nine-counties didn’t deserve this. They didn’t do anything to deserve it and it’s shameful!”

The impact to individual businesses like restaurants, beauty shops and hotels could be enormous. But those numbers are likely to take months to gather.

Jones said at this point there is no time line to file the lawsuit.

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  • Brian

    hopefully danny will win some money in this lawsuit, if not he will have to come up with another illegal payroll tax. (I mean user fee)

  • Paul Bodnick

    Sue their pants off. I think Freedom has no insurance

  • Hillbilly

    Who ya gonna sue , the tax payer ends up footing the bill no matter what happens .

  • jay ziehm

    Like I said before each lawsuit should be handled on a case by case basis (NO CLASS ACTION) its going to be hard to determine the loss of future tax revenue for the city of Charleston. this whole situation will be in the courts for years. the way Mr. Jones is thinking its going to be over by ground hog day. If he doesn't know who the defendant will be that's sad. even a village idiot can figure that out.

  • Frank / Moundsville

    By the time all these lawsuits gets to court, there will be no assets for the lawyers and plaintiffs to plunder.

  • PT

    Go for it! At least make a statement out of this so it will never happen again. The companies lobbyist will probably welcome tougher regulation after this debacle!

  • Wilson

    Someone tell me how this will help??? Please!

  • Roswellian

    Hiring TWO law firms to collect $120,000 due to loss taxes. Now, how much will the hiring of these two law firms cost the taxpayers???
    $500,000 per firm would just about do it.
    That is spending $1,000,000 of taxpayer money to collect $120,000. BRILLIANT!!

  • Mr. Clean

    Hiring TWO law firms to collect $120,000 due to loss taxes. Now, how much will the hiring of these two law firms cost the taxpayers???
    $500,000 per firm would just about do it.
    That is spending $1,000,000 of taxpayer money to collect $120,000. BRILLIANT!!

  • Beckie

    I have an idea: If NOONE pays their water bills, then what??????

  • Aaron

    "We don't know who is suing who but we're gonna be part of it regardless of where the money comes from. It may very well come from the victims of this spill, through increased water rates, we don't care so long as we get ours."

    Is that what the mayor is essentially saying because that's likely where any award is going to come from.

  • Dont sit on your brain

    Other than lost tax revenue.... why does the city, I mean danny jones wanting to catch more headlines since he has not heard himself for a week or 2, need to sue. The people that had to endure should sue, but the city?

    whats wrong Metro comments in the article from Carper too........Oh that will be another article tomarrow.

  • concerned

    Finally! A leader that is taking a position. You go, Danny!
    This has devasted us and it is time someone takes responsiblity for this shameful event that occurred! We, the citizen in the affected counties, have been LIED to!
    It is my opinion the DEP is just as liable as Freedom Industries. While I think the water company should have had a disaster plan in place, the other two entities need to be taken to the cleaner. First and foremost: disband our DEP in WV: they are owned by the industries that hurt us! We don't deserve the lies nor did we deserve to be poisoned. According to the press, the leak had been ongoing for 15 hours. The "do not use" order came out at dinner time. Using basic math, that means it started leaking around 2 a.m. You placed my family, neighbors, & friends in harms way and for that I will never forgive you!

  • timothyhall

    this is heat touching to me because my mother lives there and I have been reading they never cleaned the water lines right they should have drained all water out and then put clean in they just flush the water lines so they were never clean

  • cutty77

    I love the first comments on this. Don't know who,and where its going to be,but we are going to SUE somebody over this.BRILLIANT