By August 9, 2017 Read More →

Justice company agrees to settlement with flood cleanup contractor


Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice’s family companies have reached a legal settlement with a Texas company and will pay that company more than $500,000 owed for work on flood cleanup and restoration last year at The Greenbrier resort, according to new federal court filings.

Three Justice companies — Greenbrier Hotel Corp., James C. Justice Companies, and Justice Family Group LLC — agreed to the deal with BMS CAT Inc. to resolve a lawsuit BMS Cat had filed last year in U.S. District Court in Beckley, according to the new filings.

The Justice defendants in the case will pay off the debt through six monthly installments that were to start in July and run through December, according to a joint legal brief filed in late July.

Last December, Haltom City, Texas-based BMS CAT sued the Justice companies, saying it had not been paid for work performed cleaning up and restoring portions of The Greenbrier properties, including golf courses, the resort’s chapel, a ballroom and poolroom, the pro shop, grounds and buildings of the Old White Inn, and gold course out buildings, that were damaged during the June 2016 flood.

The suit said that BMS Cat sent an invoice on Aug. 11, 2016, for more than $880,000. As of the filing of the suit on Dec. 8, the only payment that had been received was $113,000 for work related to cleanup at the Greenbrier Sporting Club, the suit said.

The dispute with BMS Cat was raised during Justice’s gubernatorial campaign by his Republican opponent, Bill Cole, when BMS CAT in October 2016 filed mechanic’s liens over the debt. Justice has a history of unpaid taxes, coal-mine safety fines and other debts, and his family’s coal operations continue to run up bills for unpaid state coal severance taxes. Justice has said that he was turning over day-to-day operations of The Greenbrier to his daughter, but the resort was not among the properties listed to be included in a blind trust approved by the state Ethics Commission.

On July 25, lawyers for both sides in the case asked U.S. District Judge Irene C. Berger to put the matter on hold. They said that a settlement had been reached, but asked Berger to keep the case on her docket “for purposes of enforcing the terms of the settlement without having to file a separate civil matter.”

Berger, in an order issued Aug. 3, said that if the settlement agreement needed to be enforced, that could be done through a separate lawsuit. The judge ordered the parties to report back to her by Monday “indicating whether they intend to proceed with this litigation or go forward with their settlement agreement absent a stay.”

On Monday evening, lawyers for the two sides filed a four-page report, telling Berger that, “In light of the court’s denial of the stay, the Justice defendants have agreed to entry of a consent judgment.”

The two-page judgment, also filed with Berger Monday evening, says that the Justice companies will pay BMS CAT more than $550,000, plus 7 percent interest, until the entire amount is paid.

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