In a recent public appearance, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice addressed questions regarding his financial disclosure report for his U.S. Senate campaign. Justice claimed to be an open book, but avoided providing specific answers about the report’s contents. The financial disclosure was filed 133 days past the deadline and 32 days past the extension deadline.
Justice stated that long-time company accountant and executive Terry Miller prepared the report and expressed confidence in its accuracy. However, he admitted to not reviewing the report line by line but trusted that it was prepared accurately.
The financial disclosure revealed that Justice and his wife reported more than $253,000 in salaries. They also reported income between $25,000 and $73,000 derived from dividends and interest from various assets. The estimated worth of these assets ranged from $37.5 million to over $1.9 billion.
On the liability side, Justice reported between $37.5 million and $108.1 million in lines of credit, promissory notes, and judgments. Four of these lines of credit belong to Justice-owned businesses, including the Greenbrier Hotel Corp., Tams Management, Bellwood Corp., and Black River Farms. These lines of credit have 0% interest and are payable on demand.
Interestingly, Justice reported receiving either no or less than $201 in income from the Greenbrier Hotel Corp., despite having a line of credit between $5 million and $25 million with the company. When questioned about this, Justice clarified that he does not receive any income from the Greenbrier.
Additionally, Justice disclosed that he received two promissory notes from former paid senior advisor Bray Cary, totaling between $2 million and $10 million. These notes, with an interest rate of 10%, are owed directly to Cary and the Cary Foundation. Cary left the Governor’s Office in March 2021, but Justice appointed him to the West Virginia University Board of Governors in July 2021.
Justice’s financial disclosure with the West Virginia Ethics Commission revealed his involvement in 111 businesses, with only seven in blind trusts. However, Justice claimed that his children, Jay and Jill Justice, handle the day-to-day operations of his businesses.
Over the years, Justice and his companies have faced significant financial issues, including unpaid debts, loan guarantees, and unpaid federal mine safety penalties. Some have accused Justice of using his companies to hide assets.
Despite these financial hurdles, Justice emphasized that his family has worked hard and does not have large sums of money. He acknowledged occasional delays in bill payments but assured that they always get paid eventually. Furthermore, Justice revealed that a British Virgin Islands-based company is seeking to seize his property due to non-payment of a court-awarded $10 million sum. However, he expressed pride in not resorting to bankruptcy to avoid paying his debts.
While Justice maintained that his finances are not perfect, he portrayed a positive outlook for his situation. The governor affirmed his commitment to transparency and denied any wrongdoing in his financial affairs.
In summary, Governor Jim Justice’s recently released financial disclosure report for his U.S. Senate campaign has raised questions about his financial management and potential conflicts of interest. Despite his claim of being an open book, Justice evaded specific answers about the report’s contents. As the campaign progresses, it remains to be seen how this disclosure will impact his bid for the Senate seat.