A New York Times report points the finger for a chemical spill last week on the Elk River in West Virginia at a state government well-known for “lax” environmental and public safety regulations.

But a look at the individuals associated with Freedom Industries, the company that owns chemical facility where the leak occurred, shows that corporate malfeasance may have a played a central role in the disaster that has done untold damage to the river and left more than 300,000 people without access to safe drinking water.

The Times describes the state’s weak regulations as pervasive:

And investigative journalist David Gutman, reporting for the West Virginia Gazette, explores the troubling behavior of Freedom Industries executives and their history of illegal behavior, political manuevers, and past associations with other environmentally damaging industrial failures.

According to Gutman:

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Gutman reports that Kennedy’s two convictions included one for tax evasion and related crimes and another for possession of cocaine. Though he is no longer reportedly with the company, the web of relationships involved with Freedom Industries paints a troubling picture of leadership and corporate culture interested in maximizing profits with little regard for public safety.