Curtis Tate Published

Judge Orders Sale Of 6 Justice-Owned Companies To Settle Debt

Gray haired man sits at a podium with two more men out of focus behind him.
Gov. Jim Justice delivering his eighth and final State of the State Adress to a joint session of the West Virginia Legislature.
Perry Bennett/WV Legislative Photography

Half a dozen companies owned by the family of Gov. Jim Justice could be sold to satisfy a longstanding debt, according to a court ruling last week.

In a ruling filed June 20 in U.S. District Court in Delaware, Judge Richard G. Andrews ordered the sale of six Justice companies. Based on the order, the proceeds would be used to pay Caroleng Investments, a Caribbean investment company to which Justice owes at least $10 million.

Caroleng is the same company that pursued the seizure and sale of a helicopter owned by another Justice company, Bluestone Resources, in federal court in southwest Virginia.

Caroleng is a subsidiary of Russian mining company Mechel, owned by oligarch Igor Zyuzin.

Justice sold Bluestone Resources to Mechel in 2009, then bought it back in 2015 for a fraction of the sale price.

Justice was asked on Wednesday in a virtual briefing with reporters about the court’s ruling.

“You also need to remember that the Russians – the Russians – bought Bluestone from our family, and then turned it into a god-awful mess you have ever seen in the world,” he said. “And it literally would have caused so much harm to a lot of great West Virginians, our environment, so many different things, taxes, and on and on and on, that we’ve taken care of.”

The six companies in the Delaware ruling are Bluestone Mineral, National Resources, Bluestone Coal Sales, Nufac Mining Company, Frontier Coal Company and Kentucky Fuel Corp. 

The Delaware court awarded Caroleng a total of $10.1 million in 2021, including $8.4 million, plus $1.7 million in interest. Interest has continued to accrue since then, and “almost the entire amount currently remains unpaid,” Andrews wrote.

Andrews gave the parties 30 days to agree on an initial sale order, which would provide notice of the sale to other creditors and appoint a receiver to take control of the companies and a broker to conduct the sale.

Justice-owned companies are entangled in myriad lawsuits with multiple creditors involving tens of millions of dollars in debt.

Justice is the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate.