CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – Jim Justice has often been a very colorful figure since being elected governor in 2016, but his business practices before and since then are raising a lot of questions.
“Forbes” magazine has an article in which it calls Justice, “The Deadbeat Billionaire.” Among the claims, Justice owes $2 million in back taxes to a Kentucky county. Another Justice company owes the IRS over one-million dollars. And that Justice companies may owe the State of Virginia up to $200 million for mine reclamation, something Justice has disputed.
So far, the reaction has been very critical.
“This individual leaves a trail of bad debt and a trail of corportate debris everywhere he goes. And he doesn’t represent business well because most business people are honest people and they pay their bills,” said Danny Jones, Former Charleston Mayor.
Others worry the national publicity will further damage the state’s image.
“It’s unfortuante when West Virginia is in theh national news for something negative like that. It’s not a good look for the state,” said Del. Mike Pushkin, (D-Kanawha).
The Governor issued a statement on the Forbes article, saying in part, “…my family and I stepped up to the plate and turned these distressed, bankrupt businesses around. It’s been a long battle but every tax has been paid or will be paid. To characterize me as a deadbeat is just dead wrong.” Last August Justice paid millions in back taxes, fines and penalties to West Virginia.
“I have got to brag on my son and my daughter and the great work they are doing in my absence, and today is a good day for me,” said Gov. Jim Justice, on August 6, 2018.
It is not certain when other Justice debts will be paid up.
The Forbes article was not the other headache for GGovernorJustice. Two county Republican committes have approved a ‘no confidence’ vote on the Governor’s leadership. Another county, however, did give Justice a vote of confidence.