Ashton Marra Published

Justice on Business Holdings: 'We Will Not Accept Favoritism'


Gov. Jim Justice released a letter to state employees about his efforts to separate himself from his business dealings while in office.

The letter issued Monday came after an editorial in the Charleston Gazette-Mail that said many state employees may have a difficult time performing their jobs knowing Justice has holdings in many industries, including his coal mines in southern West Virginia, that are inspected by state-employed mine safety officials.

In the letter, Justice writes state employees should perform their duties to the best of their abilities, whether his holdings are involved or not.

“I have always taught my children that we will never show nor accept favoritism, but rather achieve our goals through hard work and dedication,” he wrote. “I assure you there is absolutely no expectation on behalf of the members of my family of receiving any special treatment.”

Justice says he’s separated himself from his businesses by putting his children in charge of them while he’s in office and will continue to file detailed ethics reports so his businesses and investments are known to the public.

The new governor says he’s working to put his assets into a blind trust to create another layer of separation, but financial institutions have slowed the process.

Before the election, Justice said he employed 2,719 West Virginians and closing his companies would put them out of work.