LEWISBURG, W.Va. — A financial services company coming after Gov. Jim Justice personally for $2.79 million is asking the Greenbrier County sheriff to seize personal property and for Justice assets in a dozen banks to be checked.
Meanwhile, a legal ad says the sheriff of Logan County has been authorized to sell shares of two Justice-owned companies to settle yet another debt in the court system.
This has been quite a week for Governor Justice and his family’s vast holdings.
Court cases, including some from afar, keep resulting in local law enforcement officers being asked to assess what personal property is available from Gov. Jim Justice, said to be the state’s richest man — and seize it.
In Greenbrier County, the multi-million dollar collection attempt comes after Justice signed off on a court agreement to pay down almost $4 million in debt to Siemens Financial Services.
The debt originally belonged to one of Justice’s companies, Southern Coal. But Justice had earlier personally guaranteed the debt would be paid down.
He didn’t do so fast enough to satisfy the company. It’s now trying to force the collection of what’s left.
On May 28, the sheriff of Greenbrier County received a writ of execution: “we command you that the goods and chattels of the defendant, James C. Justice II, in your bailiwick, you cause to be made the total sum of $2,790,156.81, plus continuing per (diem or annum) interest rate of 3.5 percent.”
A request for execution filed the same day with the circuit clerk in Greenbrier County had this direction: “Please direct the sheriff to levy any and all personal property of the defendant at the following address.”
The name and address belonged to James C. Justice, the governor of West Virginia, in a Lewisburg neighborhood.
That same day, a dozen banks were listed in a suggestion of personal property, indicating they might hold some of Justice’s personal property being sought.
Each bank was sent notification that the writ of execution would apply to any accounts up to the amount being sought.
The banks included Premier Bank, Huntington Bank, First National, First Citizens, First Bank of Charleston, City National, Chase Bank, BB&T, Bank of Monroe, Wesbanco, Summit Community Bank and United Bank.
MetroNews obtained the documents through a visit to the Greenbrier Circuit Clerk.
That’s not the only seizure order affecting the governor and his family businesses.
In Logan County, a court order has resulted in the sheriff being ordered to sell shares of Southeast Cotton and Wilcox Industries, each wholly owned subsidiaries of James C. Justice companies.
The shares will be sold at public auction to the highest bidder at 11 a.m. June 28, according to the legal notice published in West Virginia newspapers.
That is an outcome of a Logan Circuit Court case contending Justice-owned companies owed more than $160,000 to creditors.
After an agreed judgement order, the sheriff concluded no personal property could be seized. The sheriff was ordered to try again, this time with the aid of testimony that Justice owns 100 percent of the stocks of Southeast Cotton and Wilcox Industries.
These aren’t the first counties or courtrooms where these kinds of personal property seizures have been attempted.
In a federal court case, U.S. Marshals were authorized to collect $662,101.42, plus any further $1,000-a-day penalties from Justice’s Bluestone Coal. The marshals haven’t yet reported back on their level of success.
That case is a class action suit filed in 2016 by coal miners who said they were laid off without adequate warning under federal law.
In another case that wound up in Greenbrier County, a Maryland-based bank came after Justice for $1,479,791.13.
The case against Justice Family Farms of North Carolina was originally in Circuit Court for Frederick County, Maryland, in 2017 and then was reopened later that year. The result was several related confessed judgments for hundreds of thousands of dollars each, plus interest.
The plaintiff, Middletown Valley Bank, has spent more than a year trying to collect from the company and Justice himself.
Dozens of writs of garnishments of property have been issued. The sheriff of Greenbrier County has gotten a few.
One, stamped Nov. 30, 2018, includes a handwritten note that says, “I have been contacted by attorneys representing Middletown Valley Bank. I have been instructed to return the within writ of execution due to an agreement made.”
It’s unclear if the agreement stuck.
The file at the Greenbrier courthouse included another writ of execution with a fresh stamp: Jan. 7, 2019.
“We command you to seize and sell, in the manner provided by law, such personal property of the Defendant James C. Justice II, the defendant.”