Sep 27, 2023
CHARLESTON — Both Democratic political operatives and Republican opponents were waiting to see a financial disclosure report from Gov. Jim Justice after yet another delay in filing the required report for his U.S. Senate campaign.
Justice had told media outlets that he would have his U.S. Senate Financial Disclosure filed by Saturday, Sept. 23. The report was finally available on the U.S. Senate’s Public Disclosure website by Monday at 5:29 p.m..
“I can confirm that Governor Justice’s personal financial report was filed today, which was the deadline since federal offices were closed on Saturday,” said Roman Stauffer, campaign manager for Justice, in a statement Monday evening.
Justice, who announced for the U.S. Senate at the end of April, had 30 days from the time of his filing or until May 15 to file a financial disclosure with the Senate. Instead, the Justice campaign filed on May 25 for a 90-day extension. The extension was granted, pushing Justice’s financial disclosure report deadline to Aug. 24.
Financial disclosure reports are required of currently serving U.S. senators, candidates for U.S. Senate, and certain officers and employees of the U.S. Senate. The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 (STOCK Act) also require senators and certain staff earning at least $141,022 beginning in 2023 to periodically disclose certain financial transactions, such as stocks, bonds, commodity futures, and other securities.
According to the report, Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice reported more than $253,000 in salaries, including $250,000 from his salary as governor, $3,500 from his salary as a high school basketball coach in Greenbrier County, and less than $1,000 from her salary from the Greenbrier Hotel Corp.
After missing the Aug. 24 extension deadline, the Justice campaign told WV MetroNews that the financial disclosure report would be filed by Saturday, but due to the number of businesses registered under Justice’s name, the report was taking longer to complete.
“Governor Justice is not a career politician. He has started over 100 businesses and his family’s businesses employ thousands of West Virginians,” Stauffer told MetroNews on Aug. 26. “The nature of those business structures is broad and very complex and to ensure his personal financial disclosure report is accurate it will require additional time, which is allowed for during a grace period after the filing deadline. The report will be accurate and filed within that period.”
According to Monday’s financial disclosure report, Gov. Justice and First Lady Justice listed 147 assets, ranging from public and non-public stocks, bank deposits, accounts receivables from businesses, real estate, blind trusts. The estimated worth of the assets was between $37.5 million and more than $1.9 billion. Despite this, Justice only reported between $25,000 and $73,000 of income derived from dividends and interest from 10 of those assets.
The Justices reported between $37.5 million and $108.1 million in liabilities between lines of credit, promissory notes, and judgments. These include between $2 million and $10 million in two promissory notes owed to Bray Cary, a former paid senior advisor to Justice and businessman.
The two promissory notes, with interest rates of 10%, are owed to Cary directly and the Cary Foundation. Bray left the Governor’s Office in March 2021. The notes were issued Aug. 31, 2021. Justice appointed Cary to the West Virginia University Board of Governors in July 2021.
The judgments include between $1 million and $5 million to Pennsylvania-based XCoal Energy Resources. XCoal is seeking more than $2 million remaining from a total $10 million judgment and fees owed by Justice’s companies after the companies breached a 2017 agreement to provide Xcoal with coal shipments for export.
Another judgment includes between $500,001 and $1 million to Elkins-based Citizens Bank. In March, Citizens Bank filed an application for suggestee execution with the Randolph County Circuit Court seeking a garnishment of Justice’s $150,000 annual salary and wages as governor after the bank was awarded a judgment against Bluestone Resources Inc.
Justice personally guaranteed more than $3 million in loans from the bank to purchase heavy machinery, with some equipment already returned to the bank. The circuit court awarded Citizens Bank $861,085, which includes unpaid interest and costs.
Both the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., have been critical of Justice’s financial disclosure delays. Mooney is one of two candidates seeking the Republican nomination in 2024 for the U.S. Senate seat held by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
“Even after a 90-day extension and a ‘grace period,’ liberal Jim Justice stretched out the filing process as long as he possibly could,” said John Findlay, Mooney’s Campaign Manager, in a statement Monday evening. “Hopefully he will start paying his debts he owes to our hardworking coal miners and West Virginia taxpayers.”
Manchin, now in his second six-year term, has yet to announce his re-election plans for a third term. But the DSCC has been active in West Virginia, also filing suit seeking Justice’s official calendars and schedules.
“Jim Justice is once again disregarding the law, hiding potential conflicts of interest, and depriving West Virginians of important information they have a right to know,” said DSCC spokesperson Amanda Sherman Baity in a statement earlier Monday. “This is only the latest in Justice’s barrage of financial scandals, which are sure to receive further scrutiny as the GOP’s nasty primary continues to escalate.”
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