Justice Deflects Finance Questions | News, Sports, Jobs

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CHARLESTON — In his appearance before the public Friday, Gov. Jim Justice said he was an open book while deflecting questions regarding his recently released financial disclosure report for his campaign for U.S. Senate.

“Everything I have in the world is an open book,” Justice said during a last-minute administration briefing Friday afternoon from the State Capitol Building. “I’m not going to do anything that’s not right.”

The Justice campaign filed their required financial disclosure Monday – 133 days past a May 15 deadline and 32 days past an Aug. 24 extension deadline. Financial disclosure reports are required of currently serving U.S. senators, candidates for U.S. Senate, and certain officers and employees of the U.S. Senate. Justice announced his Republican U.S. Senate campaign in April for the seat held by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

Justice said the financial disclosure form was prepared by long-time company accountant and executive Terry Miller. While he was unable to answer specific questions regarding the report, Justice said he stood by the report’s accuracy.

“Terry, I’m sure, has it exactly right and everything. To be perfectly honest … I didn’t go through line by line by any stretch of the imagination and look at the stuff,” Justice said. “I’m sure it was prepared and prepared very accurately.”

According to the report, Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice reported more than $253,000 in salaries.

Between $25,000 and $73,000 of income derived from dividends and interest from 10 out of 147 separate assets. The estimated worth of the assets was between $37.5 million and more than $1.9 billion.

The Justices reported between $37.5 million and $108.1 million in liabilities between lines of credit, promissory notes, and judgments. Four of those lines of credit are from Justice-owned businesses, including the Greenbrier Hotel Corp., Tams Management, Bellwood Corp., and Black River Farms.

The four lines of credit have 0% interest and are payable on demand. In the case of the Greenbrier Hotel Corp., the amount of the line of credit is between $5 million and $25 million. However, under assets, Justice reported receiving either no or less than $201 in income from the Greenbrier Hotel Corp.

“I don’t get an income from the Greenbrier,” Justice said. “From the standpoint of me receiving a check or income from the Greenbrier, I don’t receive a check or income from the Greenbrier.”

Justice also received two promissory notes from former paid senior advisor and businessman Bray Cary. These include between $2 million and $10 million in two promissory notes owed Cary.

The two promissory notes, with interest rates of 10%, are owed to Cary directly and the Cary Foundation. A 501(c)(3). Cary left the Governor’s Office in March 2021. The notes were issued Aug. 31, 2021. Justice appointed Cary to the West Virginia University Board of Governors in July 2021.

“To get into the play-by-play on those loans is not fair,” Justice said when asked about the loans. “(Cary) is a good, good man and did a great job here. Really and truly with great pride I appointed him to the (WVU) Board of Governors and he’s doing a great job there … We had a business relationship and that’s what we did. I’m sure Bray benefited from the business relationship. I know we benefited from the business relationship, and that’s all there is to it.”

According to his most recent financial disclosure form with the West Virginia Ethics Commission – which requires far less detail than U.S. Senate report – Justice has 111 businesses. Only seven of those 111 businesses are in blind trusts, but Justice has said frequently that the day-to-day operations of his businesses are managed by son Jay and daughter Jill Justice.

Justice and his companies have run into significant financial issues over the last several years, including more than $1 billion in personal loan guarantees to financial institutions, unpaid debts to vendors, unpaid federal mine safety penalties, wage garnishments, and other issues. In previous court cases, it has been alleged that Justice uses his companies to play shell games by hiding assets.

“You’ll see a family that has worked really, really hard. There’s no big, gigantic pots of gold sitting around,” Justice said. “Absolutely at the end of the day you can see that. From there, you can see a family that sometimes are a little late on a bill here and there and everything, but we pay them, don’t we?”

In the latest hiccup, a British Virgin Islands-based Caroleng Investments Limited is seeking a writ of execution from a Virginia federal court to seize Justice-owned property over non-payment of a court awarded $10 million sum. Despite this new setback, Justice continues to brag about not closing his companies down.

“Boy, would it have not been an easy way out to just declare bankruptcy, stiff a whole bunch of people, banks, lenders, vendors and everything else, cleanse everything, and go on down the road,” Justice said. “But we didn’t do that simply because of one thing: I don’t believe in it.

“All is good in my neighborhood,” Justice continued. “It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s good.”

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