The Real Story of Billionaire Jim Justice
Bad for Coal Safety and the Environment
- In the wake of President Obama’s election in 2008 where he promised to bankrupt coal, Jim Justice sold his coal company to a foreign company for $436 million leaving behind a wake of lawsuits from vendors that he failed to pay after he banked millions of dollars.
- Justice moved the corporate headquarters of his coal company from Beckley, West Virginia to Roanoke, Virginia in 2012.
- Justice’s coal operations have been the subject of multiple safety violations where he has racked up some $2 million in fines of which he has failed to pay $1.5 million. All that despite a company spokesperson promising that he would personally pay the fines.
- Kentucky's Commissioner of the State Department for Natural Resources issued a letter to billionaire Jim Justice in 2014 that said, "For the past two and one half years, your company has allowed these problems to continue, languish and multiply to the point that this department is left with no recourse” but to shut down mines."
- Even fellow Democrat former Congressman George Miller from California said of Justice, “He’s a major figure within the community, and yet he just simply chooses to ignore this [fines]. He’s certainly exhibit A of the kind of operator that should not be allowed to continue with reckless disregard of the law.”
- In a recent lawsuit, environmental groups claimed coal mines in Tennessee owned by the billionaire Justice were discharging pollutants into forks of the New River in violation of the Clean Water Act and subjecting local residents to an unknown amount of toxic materials dumped into their streams and rivers.
- In 2014, the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) issued 39 cessation orders against three Jim Justice-owned companies in Tennessee according to the Sierra Club.
- Additionally, Greenwire reported that coal mines owned by billionaire Jim Justice have been cited for more than 250 environmental violations in five states with unpaid penalties as high as $2 million.
- According to an NPR/ MSHN investigation, Jim Justice is the third most prolific delinquent coal mine operator, owing $2,148,401 in fines to the MSHA, and injury rates in Justice’s delinquent mines over the last five years are more than double the average rate.
- "The report states that through March of this year, the delinquent Justice mines committed nearly 4,000 violations; 1,300 citations were classified by federal inspectors as S & S (significant and substantial), and more than 500 violations were “the kind of violations that are common in mine disasters, accidents and deaths.”
- In 2014, Approximately 100 Kentucky and Virginia coal miners won a class action lawsuit against James C. Justice Companies Inc., after claiming they were fired in May 2013 without first receiving a 60-day notice under the WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retaining Notification) Act.
- Additionally, the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration said in May 2014 that billionaire Jim Justice's organization owed $3.18 million related to worker safety issues.
- As a result of billionaire Jim Justice's neglect in paying an estimated 266 unresolved mining violations in five states, he has shifted the burden of mine cleanup onto states and counties.
Special Deals and Tax Breaks for Billionaire Jim Justice
- Jim Justice has a history of using his business and political connections to score special deals and tax breaks for his businesses and organizations.
- In 2010, Jim Justice had planned to ask the state to give him $10 million for The Greenbrier Classic, but the request was later lowered to $1 million. The $1 million special deal was blocked in the House of Delegates, where one members said "the state should spend economic development money on water and sewer projects and other infrastructure improvements." Despite opposition from the House of Delegates, then Governor Manchin indicated he still intended to distribute the money to The Greenbrier.
- The next special deal for billionaire Jim Justice came in 2011 when the West Virginia Legislature approved a tax credit that would provide $10 million in state funding a year over 10 years to the state's four racetrack casinos and to the casino at the Greenbrier to provide funds for the purchase of new slot machines and to upgrade the casinos.
- The State of West Virginia continues to subsidize The Greenbrier Classic in the form of a sponsorship, which cost $1.7 million in 2014.
- While Governor Tomblin was cutting $67 million from the 2015 state budget, billionaire Jim Justice's Greenbrier Resort lobbyist successfully lobbied for a $25 million tax credit for new construction projects at the luxury resort property.
- "Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed legislation giving Greenbrier Resort owner Jim Justice up to $25 million in tax credits for a sports medicine institute and for the creation of a ski area. It was done with great fanfare and under the guise of bringing the New Orleans Saints to the Greenbrier to create a summer practice facility." - here
- For a man with an estimated net worth of $1.6 billion, Jim Justice's business experience hasn't translated into success for his charity, Old White Charities, Inc. According to IRS Form 990s publicly available, the charity posted $4.1 million in liabilities in 2013, $1.6 million in liabilities for 2012, and $10.2 million in liabilities in 2011.
Litigating Small Business Out of Business
- Supporting Barack Obama isn't the only thing that billionaire Jim Justice has done to hurt West Virginia small businesses. He has a record of using his power and wealth to not pay small businesses for work they performed for his companies, which often times results in expensive lawsuits that many small businesses cannot afford.
- "Seven coal and fuel companies owned by Jim Justice, the owner of The Greenbrier resort, are being sued for allegedly not paying their bills. Beckley-based Phillips Machine Services filed suit on Oct. 8, asking for a total of about $1.1 million from the Justice-owned companies" - here
- "There is some angry, angry people ... When you do business with a billionaire, you think you are going to get paid,’ said Lee Kersey, owner of M&D Electrical Supply in Hazard." - here
- "Mark Miracle, the owner of Dynatech Electronics in Harlan, Ky. Miracle says he is owed about $150,000 for electrical mining supplies provided to three Justice mining companies more than a year ago. ‘They owe a lot of people a lot of money.’” - here
- "Worth an estimated $1.6 billion, West Virginian Jim Justice II ranks 342nd on Forbes' list of richest Americans, and yet, his businesses are notorious for not paying their bills." - here
- "Jim Justice and his Greenbrier Resort are facing another lawsuit." ... "...relations between the resort’s owner and the architect who helped get the Old White golf course ready for the PGA event earlier this year have turned into a classic legal battle."
- Has Jim Justice or any of his companies NOT paid a bill they owe you? Click here to let us know!
Supporting Barack Obama
- Despite West Virginia overwhelmingly rejecting Barack Obama’s candidacy in 2008, Jim Justice and his immediate family went out of their way to personally donate $91,200 to a political committee designed to help Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. He also donated over $30,000 to a Kentucky state political organization that worked to re-elect President Obama.
- The Greenbrier, owned by Justice and his family, gave $40,000 last fall to a political expenditure group in West Virginia specifically assembled by the gambling industry to support pro-gambling, pro-abortion and anti-coal Democrat legislators.
- Billionaire Jim Justice and his family have contributed more than $400,000 to Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (D), who endorsed Barack Obama. He was also asked to make a contribution to restore the governor's mansion in Kentucky by Governor Beshear's wife.