Notice: Greenbrier Sporting Club to be sold at auction to satisfy Justice debt to bank

A Virginia bank has placed official notice to auction The Greenbrier Sporting Club to satisfy a multi-million dollar debt from Gov. Jim Justice and his family.

The Greenbrier Sporting Club is a private club offering memberships to people who buy real estate surrounding The Greenbrier resort.

Carter Bank & Trust has been moving to collect $300 million from Governor Justice and his family companies. The debts were personally-guaranteed by Justice, his wife Cathy and their son Jay, who runs the family’s coal operations. The debts applied to several branches of the family’s business network, including Greenbrier Hotel Corporation, Greenbrier Golf and Tennis Club and Greenbrier Sporting Club.

A legal notice reflecting the move to auction Greenbrier Sporting Club property and collect the money to satisfy the debt appeared today in The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

The auction is scheduled for 11 a.m. March 5 at the front door of the Greenbrier County Courthouse in Lewisburg.

Justice gained goodwill and steps toward statewide name recognition when he bought The Greenbrier out of bankruptcy in spring of 2009.

Worth Carter, the bank’s patriarch and Justice’s friend, held the first shovel at the end of a line of dignitaries when ground was broken for a new casino at the resort. In 2017, when Carter died at age 79, Justice spoke at his funeral.

After that, as the bank operated under new management with a more formal structure, Justice’s debts continued and conflict sprawled even as his political footprint grew.

Justice, a two-term Republican governor, is now favored in a race for the U.S. Senate seat that Joe Manchin, a Democrat, has opted out of defending.

Justice’s businesses have been fighting claims by a range of lenders and businesses who claim to have been stiffed. Among the largest is Carter Bank, their longtime lender.

Carter Bank wants to cash in roughly $300 million in defaulted loans, holding out signed guarantees to say the Justices should pay up.

Carter Bank last April filed to collect on confessed judgments adding up to $302 million, plus interest and attorneys fees, in Martinsville Circuit Court in Virginia. The claims cited the personal guarantees by the Justices.

The confessions of judgment are written and signed agreements accepting liability in instances of default. In such circumstances, the note may be presented to the court without even notifying the debtor or having a hearing. By signing, borrowers may sacrifice their right to be heard in court.

The confessed judgments filed by Carter Bank apply to loans on James C. Justice Companies, Justice Family Group, Greenbrier Hotel Corp., Greenbrier Golf and Tennis Club, Greenbrier Sporting Club, Players Club LLC, Oakhurst Club, Greenbrier Medical Institute, Justice Low Seam Mining, Twin Fir Estates and Wilcox Industries.

Those loans had come due April 15, 2023.

Lawyers for Justice’s companies responded by filing motions to set aside the confessed judgments in the 11 cases. They had argued that restrictions on the loans were so inflexible that Carter Bank was engaging in unfair business practices.

Last month, a circuit judge in Martinsville, Va., dismissed the Justice defense: “The defendants offer sparse analysis as to how these defenses are either adequate or dispositive.”

The order in the case will be entered during a hearing on Valentine’s Day, 2 p.m. Feb. 14. The bottom line of the one-page draft of the order simply says that the Justice motion to set aside the confessed judgments is denied and overruled.

Meanwhile, Carter has taken a tangible step in trying to get the money.

Last summer, almost a hundred Justice properties were sold at auctions on county courthouse steps for a different debt — delinquent property taxes. The lots were available for sale because property taxes went unpaid and warnings were unheeded over more than a year.

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