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Jim Justice

Gov. Jim Justice speaks during a COVID-19 media briefing Monday. During the briefing, Justice said a report from The Wall Street Journal that described a potential deal between his coal companies and Swiss-based Credit Suisse sounded "pretty accurate." In the proposal, Justice would pay the company $300  million, and give Credit Suisse half the value of a public sale of Bluestone Resources.

Gov. Jim Justice confirmed Monday that his family’s coal company had offered Credit Suisse $300 million, and half of the value of the Justices’ coal companies, to settle about $740 million in outstanding loans with the company.

Justice had not read a Wall Street Journal report about the proposal, but he said the details of the report sounded “pretty accurate,” when asked about the report during his thrice weekly COVID-19 briefing Monday morning.

Executives for the Justice family’s companies have been in talks with the Switzerland-based Credit Suisse at least since May, after the downfall of U.K.-based Greensill Capital, which loaned the Justice family companies $850 million in May 2018.

Justice said Monday his family’s businesses are doing well and that representatives with Credit Suisse and Justice’s Bluestone Resources were “working along really, really well.”

“You know, we got the rug just jerked out from right underneath us with the Greensill folks,” the governor said. “I said it over and over — bad actors, very bad actors. With that, we had to work through a whole bunch of stuff. I think it would be very premature for me to have a whole lot of comment on it.”

Credit Suisse had provided money to Greensill before Greensill filed for bankruptcy in March, after it lost key insurance coverage that provided backup for its loans.

Justice, in June, said he had personally guaranteed the Greensill loans, meaning he personally is liable for repaying the remaining balance.

In June, the governor said he began dealing with Greensill in 2018, a little more than three years after repurchasing his coal companies from Russian-based Mechel Bluestone for $5 million in February 2015, after selling the companies to the Russian entity for $436 million in 2009.

Based in Roanoke, Virginia, Bluestone Resources operates 26 coal mining and mining resources companies in the United States.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Justice would finance the $300 million payment to Credit Suisse by refinancing “a chunk” of their existing loans with a third-party lender, which had not been named to The Journal.

Justice also pledged to pay half of the proceeds of a sale or initial public offering of Bluestone to Credit Suisse.

Bluestone still has an active lawsuit against Greensill in federal court in the Southern District of New York. In that lawsuit, the Justices accuse Greensill of operating a “continuous and profitable fraud” enacted “under the guise of establishing a long-term financing arrangement.”

In the lawsuit, the Justices said their companies already had paid Greensill $105 million on the $850 million loan.

The governor’s son, James “Jay” Justice III, manages the family’s coal and land companies, including Bluestone Resources, and Justice’s daughter, Jillean Justice-Long, manages The Greenbrier hotel and resort in White Sulphur Springs.

The Justices settled a lawsuit earlier this month with Virginia-based Carter Bank that resulted in the restructure of the family’s loans with the bank. The Justices dropped their $421 million lawsuit against the bank, and bank executives dropped two confessions of judgment against Jim and Cathy Justice worth $61 million in a Virginia circuit court.

On June 1, Justice said the family business loans had “flowed from Carter Bank to Greensill along the way.”

“We spend time concerned about my family’s personal finances and how that’s all going, and I would just report to you it’s going very well,” the governor said Monday. “For crying out loud, that’s the last thing we need to worry about. What we need to worry about is 3,568 great West Virginians we’ve lost [to COVID-19], and that’s what I do day and night.”

Lacie Pierson covers politics. She can be reached at 304-348-1723 or Follow @laciepierson on Twitter.

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