Billionaire Jim Justices coal struggles irking biz owners
West Virginia billionaire Jim Justice made his fortune in coal and agriculture, and he is revered in his home state as the man who rescued the historic Greenbrier resort from bankruptcy.
Join the discussion below, or Read more at Charleston Daily Mail.
#1 Jun 17, 2013
It's about time the media has picked up this story. Not paying vendors has been JJ's stock in trade for the entire time.
He feels he has an innate right to use everyone else's money for an indefinite (and interest free) period until he gets around to paying. That could mean weeks or it could mean never.
#2 Jun 17, 2013
Justice is making billions while riding the backs of businesses and working people. The poster above has it right; His methods have been to never pay for what he purchases and then he will off the vendor 50% to pay the bill when he sits on billions. Most people have him on "cash and carry" basis now more than ever in his business tactics.
#3 Jun 17, 2013
When you do business with a billionaire, you think you are going to get paid," said Lee Kersey, owner of M&D Electrical Supply in Hazard. Kersey said Justice's companies owe him about $240,000 for work dating back to January 2012, but he has not filed a suit. Kersey, who has about eight employees, said he received a check for $28,000 in February.
Timothy Bates, a lawyer in Hindman, Ky., sued Justice subsidiary Kentucky Fuel Corporation last year for about $16,000. His client, who did some excavating work, received payment after the suit was filed.
#4 Jun 17, 2013
Worth an estimated $1.7 billion, Justice is a prominent member of the tiny West Virginia community of Lewisburg, keeping a modest home and finding time to coach basketball at the local high school. He ranks No. 292 on a list of wealthiest Americans by Forbes magazine, which estimates that his personal wealth has grown by $500 million in the last year.
But his coal operations in Appalachia are struggling as business owners have filed at least nine lawsuits since late 2011 claiming they are not being paid for work at Justice mines. Still others say they are owed money but haven't yet sued.
"There is some angry, angry people," said Mark Miracle, the owner of Dynatech Electronics in Harlan, Ky. Miracle says he is owed about $150,000 for electrical mining supplies provided to three Justice mining companies more than a year ago. "They owe a lot of people a lot of money."
#5 Jun 17, 2013
It's actually a business plan.
Calculate that associates will sue you and then pay pennies-on-the-dollar in out-of-court settlements.
#6 Jun 17, 2013
In another dispute over mining lands, a group of Kentucky landowners are seeking millions in federal court from a Justice subsidiary. They claim they've lost millions in royalties because the company was awarded mining rights but hasn't mined the land in two years.
Justice said settling debts isn't as easy as writing a check when his mines are trying to remain open and producing coal.
"The alternative would be,'OK let's pay everybody what we owe them and shut everything down.' If you're a vendor selling widgets and you get paid but you don't sell any more widgets, that's not any good," he said.
Herbie Deskins, a former eastern Kentucky legislator from Pike County and attorney who is suing Justice on behalf of a drilling company, said business owners are in a bind because Justice mines are still operating when others are shutting down. He said his client, South East Drilling Supplies, would like to continue working for Justice but they want a $25,000 debt paid.
"People still want to do business with him because he's still in business," Deskins said.
Mark Doss, a vice president at Doss Fuelco in Baxter, Ky., said in February the Justice companies had settled their debts with the fuel supplier, which didn't sue. He declined to say how much was owed.
"It only took two years," he said.
#7 Jun 17, 2013
Companies should just quit working for him period. This way he will get on board when he has to struggle to find companies to work for him. If this would happen he wouldn't have a choice to pay or have him pay a retainer of front which would break him from this practice. It is a shame when he can do what he does to people and get by with it. I think it should a crime to run a business this way period.
#8 Jun 18, 2013
What a surprise, Jeff Bryant thinks Jim Justice saved Lewisburg! He works for Justice at the Greenbrier as director of music and Justice pays for his vacations. He is an incompetent principal and a sycophant for Justice. Lewisburg did just fine before he bought The Greenbrier and will continue to do so. Hopefully The Marriott, as rumored, will buy it and manage it properly with some morality. If they had bought it originally we might still have some of the original staff who knew what they were doing working there rather than having been unceremoniously fired and moved away.
#9 Jun 22, 2013
So sick and tired of all the negative comments and bashing. I work for the man and I have always been paid a fair wage for the area in which we live. He is a business man and very reasonable to those with an open mind and some sense. Yes, some get angry no matter what goes on, people are just unhappy and project that to others. I am not jealous of the people with money, there is more than enough to go around if you are willing to work for it. Never judge another if you have not walked in his shoes.
#10 Jun 22, 2013
"people are just unhappy and project that to others."
"Never judge another if you have not walked in his shoes."
Don't pay me, and I'll judge very quickly.
So I'm going to spend a weekend at the resort, golf, eat, get a spa treatment, etc.
But then here's the kicker: I'm going to pay my bill in 90 DAYS later, and THEN I'm only going to pay 60 percent of the value owed, because, according to me, the service sucked, the room was dirty, and the greens were not up to par.
Are you going to "judge" me
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