Company has been going after Justice personally for $4 million

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A financial company has been coming after Gov. Jim Justice in Greenbrier County for a personally-guaranteed loan of almost $4 million.

The case originated in New Jersey, and Justice agreed to pay the money in a court order there late last year.

So on May 23, the Greenbrier Circuit Clerk filed a document reflecting the foreign judgment from New Jersey. The image here is a screen grab from the Greenbrier County clerk’s website.

Siemens Financial Services has been suing Justice over the debt since April, 2018. The case unfolded in Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County.

According to the original complaint, Southern Coal — one of the companies owned by Justice and his family — made a written promise to pay $7,563,601.89 in monthly payments. That happened on April 17, 2015.

At the same time, Justice signed a guarantee that made him personally responsible for the payments.

On June 29, 2017, Southern Coal and Justice submitted a modified agreement to Siemens, still personally guaranteeing the debt.

Southern Coal failed to make the required payments under the promissory note, even after the modification, triggering default.

But Siemens Financial opted not to go after Southern Coal.

Instead, it has gone after Justice.

“Upon Southern Coal’s default under the note, the Guarantee allows SFS to proceed against Justice for the full amount due under the note, including all costs of enforcement and attorneys fees,” according to the original complaint.

On Dec. 26, 2017, a day after Christmas, Justice received a demand letter. Siemens Financial notified West Virginia’s governor of the default and demanded the immediate payment of everything due.

“Due to the defaults, SFS hereby declares the indebtedness to be immediately due and payable in full,” the company’s lawyers wrote. “Payment is expected by January 2, 2018.”

That settled nothing.

“Despite demand for payment, Justice has failed and refused to pay the amounts that are due and owing under the Note and Guarantee,” according to the original complaint.

The amount includes $3,624,225.89 in principal plus interest through Dec. 16, 2017, of $132,685.30.

The case went through the New Jersey Court system, where Siemens is headquartered.

On Sept. 4, 2018, Judge Lisa Vignuolo issued a final judgment. The amount originally owed plus attorneys’ fees amounted to $3,929,466.97.

Justice also signed the judgment, which was witnessed by a Greenbrier County notary.

Over the next few months, Justice made some payments on the debt, records show.

First was a payment of $1 million on Sept. 4, 2018. Then another payment of $20,000. Then another $20,000. And another $20,000. And another $20,000, another $20,000. Then $40,000 and another $40,000.

Each entry into the court record noted that was partial satisfaction, with that phrase set off in italics.

“The remainder of the judgment shall remain in full force and effect.”

The payments, while coming regularly, were still less than the $157,000 a month that Southern Coal was originally supposed to be paying.

This past April 3, Siemens went back to the court for a certified copy of the original judgment against Justice and then started the process that has now rolled into Greenbrier Circuit Court.

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