ProPublica reports that according to data released by the Small Business Administration on July 6, at least six companies owned by billionaire Governor Jim Justice (R-WV) and his family have received between $11 million and $24 million in COVID-19 relief money through the Paycheck Protection Program.
- Forbes ranks Justice as a billionaire and as West Virginia’s richest man. His holdings include coal mines, resort hotels, and agricultural interests.
- When Justice took office as governor, he explained that he would turn over company management to his children. However, ProPublica avers that he continues to guide his business empire.
- The Greenbrier Hotel Corporation, a firm owned by Justice that operates the luxury resort of the same name, received a loan valued between $5 million and $10 million.
- It was one of only nine companies in West Virginia to receive a loan of that size.
- The Greenbrier Sporting Club, a Justice company that manages a residential development next to the hotel, received between $1 million and $2 million.
- Justice’s other four Paycheck Protection loan recipient holdings are coal energy companies. Blackstone Energy LTD and Bluestone Coke LLC each received between $2 million and $5 million. Ranger Fuel Coal Corp. received $1 million to $2 million. Justice Energy Company Inc. received $150,000 to $350,000.
- The Department of the Treasury explains that one of the purposes of the Paycheck Protection Program is to enable “small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis.” However, in its paperwork the Greenbrier Hotel Corporation listed “0” in a column asking how many jobs would be retained on account of the loan.
- Two other Justice companies left the field blank. The three others listed a total of 406 jobs retained.
- During a COVID-19 media briefing in June, Justice acknowledged that his companies had received Paycheck Protection money but said he wasn’t sure how much.