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W.Va. Governor’s family business reaches settlement over millions tied up in legal disputes

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. (WVVA) West Virginians have heard repeatedly from Gov. Jim Justice on the fight against COVID-19, but on Wednesday, he weighed in on some of the private battles his family has been facing over several hundred million dollars tied up in legal disputes.

In a one-on-one interview with WVVA News, he said his family has reached a settlement regarding one of those fights involving 368 million dollars in financing with Carter Bank and Trust located in Martinsburg, Va.

When pressed for details on the breakdown and reconciliation, he said:

"To tell you the truth, it was as simple as communication. We had a great relationship with Carter and probably made the bank in lots of different ways. Through 20 years and an incredible relationship, I gave the eulogy at his funeral. An incredible relationship and an incredible man. Then we drifted away communication-wise and as a business can from time to time, it became adversarial and we work through it. And that's what we did."

An attorney for the family businesses, Steve Ruby, also sent out a release on Wednesday with additional details regarding the resolution:

"CB&T will dismiss the legal actions that it filed against James C. Justice, II, and Cathy Justice in the Martinsville, Virginia Circuit Court, and the Justice companies will dismiss their federal action against CB&T and its directors in the Southern District of West Virginia. The resolution marks a resumption of the companies’ previous business relationship with CB&T and will allow them to maximize performance in the current favorable markets in mining, hospitality, and agriculture.

“We are pleased to move past our disagreements with CB&T, and we look forward to a continued productive relationship with the bank moving forward,” said James C. Justice, III, President of the Justice mining and agriculture businesses. “This resolution clears the way for our businesses and our people to focus on what they do best: producing world-class coal and running world-class farms. Today’s strong coal and agriculture markets present an extraordinary opportunity, and we are now in an even better position to respond to it.”

“Our relationships with our business partners are important to us, and we welcome the resumption of our productive relationship with CB&T,” said Jillean L. Justice, President of The Greenbrier. “In a record-breaking year for The Greenbrier, today’s resolution helps ensure continued strength.

According to West Virginia Metro News, the Justice companies are also involved invanother dispute over 700 million dollars with the international financing firm, Greensill. The company filed for bankruptcy in April. The outlet said it had been operating on loans from yet another financial company, Credit Suisse.

The Governor addressed those concerns as well.

"We had the rug jerked out from us. Greensill is a Ponzi scheme and we're a victim. We didn't even know Credit Suisse existed. But the outcome will be the same. We're working with the Credit Suisse people and everything is moving along. We expect a good outcome."

He assured West Virginians that his mining operations and The Greenbrier remain financially solvent and successful, and that his top priority remains running the state.

"All I can do is report that The Greenbrier is doing fabulous. The coal business is doing fabulous. The idea that the empire is in trouble and all this stuff....let's quit that nonsense."

The Justice companies are a privately held group of mining, hospitality, and agriculture interests operating in West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, the Carolinas, and Alabama, including Bluestone Industries, Inc.; The Greenbrier; and Justice Farms of North Carolina, Inc. Since Bluestone’s founding by James C. Justice in 1971, the group has grown to include more than 100 companies proudly employing more than 2500 men and women.

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Annie Moore

Multimedia Journalist

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