Curtis Tate Published

Justice Seeks $1 Billion In Damages From Lender To His Companies

A large man with white hair wearing a blue jacket over a red shirt speaks to an audience from a stage under a tent.Curtis Tate / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Jim Justice and several of his companies, including the Greenbrier Resort, have sued a Virginia bank that’s one of their biggest lenders.

Justice and his wife and son are named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Carter Bank & Trust, filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

The Justices seek damages of $1 billion from Carter. The suit alleges that the bank engaged in a predatory scheme to prevent Justice’s companies from doing business with other banks.

It also alleges that Carter made the loans to Justice impossible to repay and that the interest on those loans were the bank’s biggest source of profit.

“Because of Carter’s significant control over their businesses,” the complaint states, “Plaintiffs have had little choice but to endure Carter’s oppression until they can escape it by paying off their loans.”

The suit says the relationship between the Justice companies and Carter fell apart after the 2017 death of the bank’s founder, Worth Carter.

By then, Justice had a portfolio of $740 million in loans with Carter to his coal, agriculture and hospitality businesses.