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Rhode Island bank claims Justice companies owe $4.2M on helicopter loan


Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Rhode Island-based bank is suing Gov. Jim Justice and two of his companies, claiming the governor and his companies owe them $4.2 million on a loan used to purchase a helicopter.

Citizens Asset Finance Inc. filed the lawsuit in the Southern District of New York in U.S. District Court on Sept. 18, claiming Justice’s companies have continued to use the helicopter despite not having made a payment on the loan since April 7.

Justice is named as a defendant in the lawsuit along with Justice Aviation, LLC, James C. Justice Companies, Inc. in an amended complaint filed in federal court on Sept. 21. Justice’s daughter, Jill Justice, also is named as a borrower for the loan in the lawsuit.

Attorneys for Citizens Asset said Justice and his companies owe them $4,290,297.33, in addition to other costs, expenses and attorneys’ fees.

The amount comes from the principal loan amount of a little more than $4 million, the accrued interest of $82,945.03, late charges totaling $201,313.47, and additional interest accrued after Aug. 31, according to the suit.

In the lawsuit, attorneys for Citizens said Justice Aviation agreed to pay back $6.6 million for loan and line of credit Justice to purchase an Augusta S.p.A. model A109S helicopter and two Pratt and Whitney Canada model PW207C helicopter engines in December 2009.

After it was purchased by Justice Aviation, the helicopter was leased to James C. Justice Companies, according to the lawsuit.

Justice Aviation and James C. Justice Companies later defaulted on the loans, and Citizens officials gave the companies the opportunity to make-up payments on the defaulted loan and entered a forbearance agreement in January 2017, according to the suit.

In the agreement, Justice’s companies admitted to owing more than $4.2 million to the Citizens, according to the suit, and the companies didn’t dispute the default.

The forbearance agreement expired on May 31, 2017, and Citizens notified Justice’s companies of the initial defaults and new defaults, according to the lawsuit. Citizens then demanded Justice’s companies pay the full amount of the loans at the time the agreement ended and again on Sept. 7, according to the lawsuit.

Reach Lacie Pierson at [email protected], 304-348-1723 or follow @laciepiersonon Twitter.

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