Billionaire and West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and his family continue to be plagued by money and tax problems.
This week, Greenbrier County Clerk's office revealed the IRS filed a notice of federal tax lien on June 11 against the Justice-owned Greenbrier Hotel Corp. for $395,722 for the first quarter of the 2018 tax period because the resort failed to remit payroll taxes for its employees to the federal government.
Not really surprising, as this seems to be a pattern.
• The West Virginia Record reported Jill Justice, the governor’s daughter who is in charge of operating the Greenbrier Resort, had more than $8 million in tax liens filed against her in March by the IRS.
• West Virginia MetroNews reported last week Virginia-based Carter Bank and Trust filed a court case seeking more than $58 million from defaulted loans made to two Justice-owned companies — the Greenbrier Sporting Club Inc., and the Oakhurst Club LLC. Justice’s companies have approximately $368 million of outstanding loans with Carter Bank, all guaranteed by Justice, his wife and his son Jay, who manages Justice’s coal and agricultural businesses.
What's it to Kentucky, you ask.
Justice has defaulted on a promise to fix environmental problems at coal mines in eastern Kentucky and should have to pay more than $3 million, state regulators argue.
Attorneys for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet filed a motion this week asking a judge to enforce an agreement that included a $2,998,995 penalty against Justice; his son, Jay Justice; and several family coal companies for reclamation violations.
The payoff would be higher because the agreement called for 8% interest going back to 2015, according to the court record.
The state also wants to revoke five permits at Justice-company mines in Kentucky; take the reclamation money posted for the mines; require the companies to fix violations at the sites and reclaim them; and block Justice companies from getting new coal permits or amending current permits until they fix the violations.
The Justices and their companies “have been provided many second chances to meet their permit obligations and time and again have failed,” the state’s lawyers said in the motion.
Richard A. Getty, a Lexington attorney who represents the Justices, said they will oppose the state’s request, calling it “unnecessarily severe.”
The state has been trying for years to get Justice companies to complete all reclamation at mines in eastern Kentucky, and in 2014, several family members, including Jim, admitted to hundreds of reclamation violations in eastern Kentucky.
Remember: Justice was elected governor of West Virginia as a Democrat in 2016 but later announced at a rally with President Donald Trump he was changing his registration to Republican. Forbes once calculated Justice’s worth at more than $1 billion, but he has since fallen off that list.
The Justice family and their businesses are behaving in a way that sounds as though they are part of the swamp that was supposed to have been drained by now. Kentucky must hold them to their promises.