The 2016 West Virginia floods took a heavy toll in Greenbrier County, including the famed Greenbrier Resort which had been gearing to host its annual PGA golf tournament. So Greenbrier owner and then-candidate for Governor Jim Justice launched a new charity.
“You know we formed ‘Neighbors Loving Neighbors’ and they gave away millions of dollars…. You know I have 3 or 4 people different people in my organization that were just taking the monies in, and distributing the monies out,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.
But that charity – and whether it really, legally exists – is one reason why the U.S. Department of Justice has subpoened Governor Justice, his children and various current and former Greenbrier executives, along with hundreds of documents. According to records from the Internal Revenue Service, the only non-profit at the Greenbrier, is the Old White Charities, which runs the golf tournament. An IRS query on “Neighbors Loving Neighbors” turned up nothing. And the Secretary of State’s office also has the Old White Charities on file, with Neighbors Loving Neighbors listed only as a “trade name” for 5-months in 2016 and 17.
“It didn’t really exist. It was not a separate organization. They claimed to raise four-million dollars but in the documents they presented to the IRS by Old White Chairities, there was no record of that four-million dollars being raised, or spent, or where it came from, and where it went. To money heaven maybe,” said Rob Cornelius, Chairman, Wood Country Republican Executive Committee.
“Neighbors Loving Neighbors” held various press events to tout donations from big name stars such as Brad Paisley and Phil Mickelson, and other donors. But again, we find no accounting in IRS or state filings. That’s troubling, especially to the Governor’s fellow Republicans.
“What we think is, you should be worried about charity fraud. Were donors given deductions they shouldn’t have been? Were those legal? Did the Greenbrier and these charities take improper deductions? There’s a lot of questions here. A lot of them are tax, a lot of them are legal, and a lot are complicated. But you have no idea where four-million dollars is?” said Rob Cornelius, Chairman, Wood County Republicans
The Governor promised us answers.
Q: And can we get a list of expenditures. Where it came in and where it went?
“Well I am sure that I can get you every single thing, about ‘Neighbors Loving Neighbors,'” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.
And the Governor insists his organizations made no money from donations.
“There is never an administrative fee taken. Never anything taken,” said Gov. Justice.
He promises full cooperation with federal investigators.
“In the meantime investigators continue to examine documents in this case, and contuinue to take Grand Jury testimony. But as of now there is no time-table from when any of this might be resolved,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.