UPDATE, APRIL 1, 8:40 p.m.: – A statement from The Justice Group was added to the article.
CHARLESTON, WV (AP) – Billionaire West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s coal companies have agreed to pay more than $5 million for thousands of mine safety violations.
Federal prosecutors on Wednesday said the governor’s companies have repeatedly failed to pay off fines on nearly 2,300 violations committed since 2014.
According to a press release, The Justice Group said the resolution “is the culmination of negotiations which began in 2018 and involves 24 companies owned by the Justice Group.”
“We believe this is a fair and reasonable settlement for the companies and the government in that we agreed to pay what we owe,” General Counsel Stephen Ball said. “We have always maintained our willingness to pay assessments owed by our companies. Over the last year and a half, we exchanged information and negotiated in good faith with the government to reach the settlement announced today.”
Justice has been reported to be the richest man in West Virginia, with a fortune estimated at more than $1 billion by way of a vast umbrella of coal and agricultural businesses. The announcement comes as Justice runs for a second term as governor.