Curtis Tate Published

Justice Coal Company Moved Helicopter Despite Court Order, Creditor Claims

Big man with white hair signing a paper
Gov. Jim Justice signs a corrections bill into law.
WV Governor's Office

A helicopter belonging to a coal company owned by Gov. Jim Justice has been moved from Virginia to North Carolina, a company that’s seeking the helicopter to settle a debt said in a court filing Tuesday.

Caroleng Investments, based in the British Virgin Islands, said Bluestone Resources owes it $13 million and accused the company of moving the helicopter last week from Roanoke, Virginia, to Burlington, North Carolina, to avoid paying.

Caroleng said it tracked the helicopter’s movement using the website

In a filing Friday, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Bluestone sought a stay of an order for U.S. Marshals to seize the 2009 Bell helicopter. In the filing, Bluestone identified Caroleng as an offshore shell company controlled by Russian mining and metals oligarch Igor Zyuzin. 

In its filing Tuesday, Caroleng attorneys disputed Bluestone’s description of Caroleng as a shell company. Rather, they said, it said was “a special purpose investment vehicle that was created to invest in mining interests in West Virginia.”

The filing said Bluestone has a long list of unpaid creditors and is familiar with shell companies. 

“Public financial filings indicate that they have created dozens, if not hundreds, of such entities, likely to thwart collection efforts by creditors such as Caroleng,” the attorneys said of Bluestone.

The filing goes on to say that a helicopter is “not essential” for a mining company, and that private air travel is “generally considered a luxury.”

“Without a helicopter, surely Bluestone executives can travel using alternatives,” the filing said.

Caroleng’s attorneys challenged Bluestone’s assertion that other creditors would be paid first. Bluestone could not intervene on its creditors’ behalf in the event they had an interest in the helicopter, the attorneys said.

Caroleng said a title search for the helicopter produced a single security interest in the name of 1st Source Bank of South Bend, Indiana. Caroleng’s filing said the bank would have to make an appearance in the proceeding to protect its interest in the helicopter, but had not yet done so.

Caroleng also said the court should order Bluestone to deliver the helicopter to the U.S. Marshals and deny the stay, “subject to being held in contempt of this court.”