Gov. Jim Justice on Tuesday asked West Virginians and media outlets in the state to “sit back and wait and watch” how multi-million dollar lawsuits between Justice family companies and a Virginia-based bank play out.
During his COVID-19 briefing Tuesday, Justice said he expected a really good outcome “if truth prevails” in legal proceedings in multiple cases between his family-owned businesses and Carter Bank & Trust, based in Martinsville, Virginia, about 50 miles south of Roanoke.
Justice also said he expected something to “come out” Wednesday regarding his family’s lawsuit against Greensill Capital, based in the United Kingdom, but didn’t describe the nature of what was to come out about the case.
Justice’s comments Tuesday came in response to questions from media outlets regarding a MetroNews report that Carter Bank filed two confessions of judgment against the governor and his wife, Cathy Justice, in Martinsville Circuit Court earlier this month.
When asked to comment on the new court filings, Justice said West Virginians had elected a governor with “lots and lots and lots of businesses” who “continued to take his wealth and put it into trying to create more and more jobs and didn’t have any interest whatsoever in sitting on his money and doing nothing.”
He said media reports about the ongoing legal proceedings were “rhetoric.”
“At the end of the day, we love, we just love to report the bad,” Justice said. “At the end of the day, what we need to do is just stand down and see where this thing finally wraps up, and know that my effort is wholeheartedly behind running this state as your governor and doing the right things for this state as your governor.”
Carter Bank is seeking to collect a total of $61,166,488.90 from the Justices, which includes $58.2 million in loans, plus interest, late fees and attorneys’ fees.
The loans were made on behalf of the Oakhurst Club, LLC, a golf course in White Sulphur Springs, as well as The Greenbrier Sporting Club and the Greenbrier Sporting Club Development Company, according to court documents.
The confessions of judgment are part of provisions of guaranty agreements the Justices signed with Carter Bank in 2020, which Carter Bank’s attorneys attached to their court filings on July 6.
The agreement states that if the governor or his wife, who personally guaranteed the loans, default on their loans, then bank executives could file the confession of judgment to collect money owed.
Bank documents included in Carter Bank’s filing include a signature from Jillean Justice-Long, the Justices’ daughter, who is president of The Greenbrier resort.
On Monday, the West Virginia Record reported the IRS filed a tax lien against Justice-Long for $8 million. The lien, filed in the Greenbrier County Clerk’s Office, is for the 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2017 tax years.
Jim Justice named Justice-Long president of The Greenbrier after he was elected governor. His son, James “Jay” Justice III, runs the family’s coal mining and land businesses from their headquarters in Roanoke.
The family’s legal and financial issues began to come to light in March, when the Justice family businesses sued Greensill Capital in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, claiming breach of contract. The Justices filed the lawsuit 10 days before Greensill filed for bankruptcy.
Greensill filed for bankruptcy in March, after losing the insurance coverage that backed its loans.
Justice said on June 2 that his family business loans had “flowed from Carter Bank to Greensill.” Greensill loaned Bluestone $850 million as part of a deal the companies made in May 2018, according to the Justices’ lawsuit.
Among the accusations made by the Justices against Greensill, the family claims the global finance firm breached their 2018 contract as part of a scheme to possibly gain control of Bluestone Resources to then sell the company to Credit Suisse.
In a separate lawsuit filed on May 31, the day before their Carter Bank loans were set to mature, the Justices claimed bank executives used “bait and switch” tactics to “induce” their companies to default on loans established with the bank’s founder, Worth Carter, who died in 2017.
The Justices’ lawsuit against Carter Bank is pending in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of West Virginia.
On Tuesday, Justice said he was close to Worth Carter, delivering a eulogy at Carter’s funeral at Liberty University. Justice said the late banker was “rolling around in his grave in many, many, many negative ways” over the bank’s business with the Justices since his death.
The same day the Justices sued Carter Bank, The Wall Street Journal reported that Swiss-based Credit Suisse Group was working with Bluestone Resources to recoup $700 million from Credit Suisse’s investments in Greensill.
On June 2, Justice said he “personally did guarantee the loans” from Greensill, meaning the governor is personally liable for repaying the loans from the now-defunct company.
Earlier this month, Carter Bank and the bank’s board of directors filed motions to dismiss the Justices’ case against them, saying the family filed the lawsuit as a delay tactic to avoid paying the bank.
If U.S. District Judge Frank Volk declines to dismiss the case against Carter Bank, the bank’s attorneys asked him to transfer the lawsuit to federal court in the Western District of Virginia or to Martinsville Circuit Court, per the terms of the loan agreements the Justices signed with the bank.