Billionaire GOP Gov's Family Businesses Received Millions In COVID Relief Loans

Screengrab / Governor Jim Justice / YouTube

JakeThomas

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice's family companies received at least $6.3 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans.

The family companies of billionaire West Virginia Governor Jim Justice (R) received at least $6.3 million from the federal government’s small business coronavirus relief loan program, according to TIME.

  • Data released by the Small Business Administration revealed that at least “six Justice family businesses received the Paycheck Protection Program loans, including The Greenbrier Sporting Club, an exclusive members-only club attached to a lavish resort Justice owns called The Greenbrier.”
  • The report also stated that “payments to Justice companies could be higher than $6.3 million because the federal government disclosed the dollar figures in ranges, not specific amounts.”
  • TIME noted that Justice “is considered to be West Virginia’s richest man through ownership of dozens of coal and agricultural businesses.”

Under the Paycheck Protection Program, the government is backing $659 billion in low-interest loans written by banks. Taxpayer money will pay off the loans if borrowers use them on payroll, rent and similar expenses. Companies typically must have fewer than 500 workers to qualify.

Earlier this year, ProPublica reported that the coal companies owned by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice (R) and his family have been involved in more than 600 lawsuits across dozens of states.

  • Among the plaintiffs were a mining equipment company in Virginia, a bank in Maryland, an insurance company in New York, state tax collectors in Kentucky, and even lawyers and accountants hired by the Justice companies to represent them.
  • Coal miners working for Justice companies have filed dozens of suits to collect money they said was due to them when they were laid off without legally required warnings or when their paychecks bounced, according to the review.
  • The companies also had pledged to provide health insurance, but failed to do so after they stopped paying the miners’ premiums upon retirement, which meant that their coverage had been terminated.
  • ProPublica reported that in early April, Justice’s coal operations made a deal with the US Department of Justice to pay more than $5 million “in delinquent mine safety penalties, some of them dating back more than five years.”
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