Justice settles millions in out-of-state debt claims

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice has settled two lawsuits by companies that were coming after him personally for millions of dollars.

Siemens Financial Services, which was trying to collect $2.79 million, has agreed to a settlement, confirmed Annie Satow, a spokeswoman for Siemens.

That information was not part of a MetroNews story earlier this week about attempts to collect on the debt.

Justice, asked earlier this year about debt cases in the court system, said all would be taken care of in good time.

Jim Justice

“At the end of the day I would say to you one thing, don’t worry about my stuff,” Justice said.

“Don’t worry about my businesses. Don’t worry about a thing in the world except this state. That’s what you should be focused on is this state. Because things are going to be fine in my business world.”

Siemens will not disclose the terms of the settlement, Satow said. The date of the settlement wasn’t yet clear.

A notice of satisfaction of judgment hasn’t yet appeared on the lawsuit’s docket in the New Jersey court system. The Greenbrier Circuit Clerk’s office in West Virginia, where collection efforts had been attempted recently, said no notice of satisfaction of judgment was on file there yet.

Another multi-million dollar lawsuit against Justice was also settled recently.

That one, filed by Middletown Valley Bank in the Maryland Court system, was settled last week. The bank had been going after Justice and his family’s Justice Family Farms for $1,479,791.13.

The case is now listed as “closed” in the Maryland Court system.

The Greenbrier Circuit Clerk also received a July 9 notice of satisfaction of judgment in the Middletown Valley Bank case. The accompanying document describes that case as “paid, settled and satisfied.”

Justice had been scheduled to personally appear before a hearing examiner in Frederick, Md., this past Monday but the settlement rendered that unnecessary.

The Maryland case started two years ago when Middletown Valley Bank filed a lawsuit over outstanding debt. Its collection efforts started and stopped during that time, with Justice paying down parts of it prior to last week’s settlement.

The Siemens Financial case was similar.

The company had been suing Justice over  a personally-guaranteed loan of almost $4 million since April, 2018. Justice agreed to pay the money in a court order in New Jersey late last year.

Over the next few months, Justice made some payments on the debt, records showed.But a lawyer for Siemens filed a notice of foreign judgment in Greenbrier County this spring to start collection attempts through Justice’s bank accounts.

Justice and his companies have started satisfying other debt recently, too.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Irene Berger approved a plan to pay down a longstanding $1.23 million civil contempt sanction on Justice Energy.

Bluestone Resources, a related Justice company, promised three installments of $410,000 each.The first installment was due June 17, the second is due Sept. 16 and the third is due Nov. 15.

Also last month, several Kentucky counties received checks last week totaling nearly $1.2 million, with Justice’s companies pledging to pay an equal amount over the coming months.

The payment agreements in  Kentucky made good on tax debts going back years.

“This is a really positive thing,” Justice’s son, Jay, told Lexington’s Herald-Leader. “We all know these counties desperately need these dollars.”

And, also last month, James C. Justice Cos., made a payment of $404,654.48 to cover back taxes in Albemarle County, Va., where the county had started the tax sale process on 52 of the company’s 55 parcels.

Last week, Justice and his family donated 4,500 acres in the same area for a conservation easement.

The property, Presidential Estates, is just outside of downtown Charlottesville and includes a view of Thomas Jefferson’s home.

Jay Justice

“West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and the Justice family are pleased to make this record easement donation helping to protect central Virginia’s natural beauty and ensuring open space and the rich history of this area are preserved in perpetuity,” stated Jay Justice, the governor’s son who runs the coal and agriculture holdings.   

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