Curtis Tate Published

Indiana Lender Joins Justice Company’s Legal Dispute Over Helicopter

Large man raises arms, speaking to a crowd and dressed in formal attire.
Gov. Jim Justice
Walter Scriptunas II/AP Photo

An Indiana bank that loaned money to a coal company owned by Gov. Jim Justice has joined a court case involving another of the company’s creditors and a dispute over a helicopter.

1st Source Bank, of South Bend, Indiana, joined Bluestone Resource’s motion for a stay in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia on Wednesday.

Bluestone and 1st Source want the court to stop the U.S. Marshals from seizing the helicopter on behalf of Caroleng Investments, an offshore company Bluestone owes $13 million.

Caroleng had sought the helicopter through the legal process to partly settle the debt.

In its filing, 1st Source estimates the value of the 2012 Bell helicopter at $1.2 million. Previous filings had indicated the helicopter was built in 2009.

1st Source identifies itself as “a lender with a perfected, first-priority security interest in the personal property” of Bluestone, meaning the helicopter.

Caroleng’s attorneys tracked the aircraft, which had been housed in Roanoke, Virginia, to Burlington, North Carolina. On Tuesday, the company asked the court to order Bluestone to turn over the aircraft to the U.S. Marshals, subject to contempt of court.

1st Source and Bluestone entered a loan agreement in 2018 for $1.5 million, the bank’s court filing says.

In 2021, Bluestone secured $10 million in financing from 1st Source, using the helicopter as part of the collateral. As of Oct. 15, Bluestone owes 1st Source about $5 million, the court filing says.

“By virtue of its security interest in the helicopter,” the filing says, “1st Source has a property interest in the helicopter that may be harmed by the execution of the writ.”

In an earlier court filing, Bluestone identified Caroleng, based in the British Virgin Islands, as a shell company controlled by Russian mining and metals oligarch Igor Zyuzin.

Caroleng disputed that description, identifying itself as a “special purpose investment vehicle.”