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Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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BeyondMU: Gov. Jim Justice Faces Millions in Debts and Unpaid Taxes

Gov.+Jim+Justice%2C+who+faces+both+personal+and+business+debts%2C%0Aannounced+his+bid+for+the+U.S.+Senate+for+2024.
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Gov. Jim Justice, who faces both personal and business debts, announced his bid for the U.S. Senate for 2024.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is beginning to feel the pressure as his debts mount, a challenge he will have to overcome as he convinces his constituents he is the right person to replace Sen. Joe Manchin on Capitol Hill.

Justice is the current frontrunner for the position since Manchin announced his intention to retire his seat in November; however, the current Republican governor faces over $300 million in unpaid business loans and $3.5 million in unpaid state sales taxes, which may have an impact on his bid.

On Feb. 5, a tax lien was placed on the governor’s Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, stating the resort owed over $3.5 million in unpaid taxes for the period between June and October of 2023.

In a statement by the West Virginia Democratic Party Chair, Mike Pushkin said Justice’s debts could have more than paid for the $2 million congress proposed for Alzheimer’s research at West Virginia University which had bipartisan support, a rarity in the state’s congress.

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“Where are the governor’s priorities? He gives $10 million to fund a baseball stadium but rejects $2 million for Alzheimer’s research,” Pushkin said. “The governor is the poster child for bad debt. West Virginians deserve leaders who uphold the highest standards of fiscal responsibility and integrity, leaders who understand the true value of investing in our state’s future.”

 Meanwhile, Carter Bank & Trust of Martinsville, Virginia, announced its intent to begin auctioning off the land, specifically the Greenbrier Sporting Club, at the resort as they attempt to recover over $300 million in defaulted business loans owed by the governor – a debt the governor has vowed to fight.

 Later that month, Justice’s coal company, Southern Coal Corporation, was found in contempt by a federal judge after failing to pay BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Co. collateral for financial obligations. Southern Coal owes BrickStreet, which provides worker compensation and employers’ liability insurance, over $500,000 after obligations paid to the coal company.

 These financial trilas are just some of the recent bad dealings by Justice. According to a review by ProPublica, 

his companies across agriculture, hospitality and coal mining have landed him over 600 lawsuits across more than two dozen states over the past three decades. The suits have been filed by workers, government agencies, business partners and vendors with over $140 million in settlements.

When asked by MetroNews about the debts, the governor has often turned to Trumpian refutation or ignorance, stating the $3.5 million in unpaid sales taxes was “brand new news to me, but I’ll check it out.”

While these debts have all correlated with his businesses, Justice also carries tens of millions in personal debts and liabilities that were disclosed when he filed his Senate candidate financial disclosure form, including $25 to $50 million to JPMorgan Chase.

Justice, who a little over a decade ago made it onto Forbes 400 peaking at a net worth of $1.7 billion due to the sale of several coal mines to a Russian mining company in 2011, has had his assets reevaluated at just over $513.3 million in 2021 due to several debts and dealings in recent years.

Despite a history of bad faith dealings and debts, including several that directly impact the livelihood of many West Virginians, the likelihood of this shaping the landscape of the state’s senatorial race is meek. 

As of April 1, Justice is polling at 55.4% over his Republican challenger, state Rep. Alex Mooney, who is polling at 17.1%. With the state acting as a party stronghold over the past several decades, it is unlikely that a democratic challenger will pose a real threat to the seat.

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  • Z

    ZaneApr 9, 2024 at 6:41 pm

    Voters do have a choice: Zane Lawhorn for US Senate

    Reply
  • P

    PjApr 9, 2024 at 12:26 am

    sounds just like Trump ,,, looks good on paper but, if you examine the inner workings,,, just a con artist ,,, he won the governor seat as a Democrat ,,, then shortly after that switched parties

    Reply