Gov. Jim Justice No Longer A Billionaire, After $850 Million Debt To Insolvent Greensill Capital Revealed
From Christopher Helman, Forbes energy writer:
James C. Justice, II, the governor of West Virginia, made a fortune in 2009 when he sold Bluestone Resources, a collection of his best West Virginia coal mines, to Russian company Mechel OAO for $500 million plus several hundred million dollars in Mechel stock. That deal was enough to push Justice into the ranks of the 2011 Forbes 400 with an estimated net worth of $1.1 billion, later peaking at $1.7 billion.
But the coal industry has deteriorated, and with it, the Justice family fortunes. In 2015, after coal prices plunged, the Russians insisted that the Justice family buy Bluestone back. So Justice paid $5 million for his old company, but also assumed some $300 million in environmental and legal obligations. Justice — in new court documents — says that the Russians left behind a shambles. "The business had been mismanaged under Mechel ownership, burdening it with substantial reclamation, union and trade obligations."
Justice has long insisted to Forbes that the Greenbrier is worth $1 billion on its own. We'll believe that when someone comes along and pays him that much for it. Meanwhile, as Greensill's creditors scrutinize its loans, exposures and collateral, we'll be curious to better understand what Justice spent Greensill’s $850 million on, whether he has any of it left, and how many cents on the dollar he’ll end up settling for with Greensill’s insurers. Until more is revealed, don't expect to see Jim Justice return to the billionaires' list.
And this from ProPublica earlier this month:
I'm curious: does anyone know who's currently the second richest West Virginian?