BERKELEY COUNTY, W.Va. (WDVM) — It hit national headlines coming out of Memorial Day weekend: is West Virginia’s governor in financial trouble over business loans?
The Wall Street Journal reports that Governor Justice guaranteed loans from Greensill Capital, which handed over the portfolio to European financial giant Credit Suisse. The funds were for coal operations run by the governor’s son, James Justice III. The bank wants its money now, but the governor brushed it all off in his media briefing to start the week.
“How in the world could we have known anything whatsoever?” was the governor’s reply to a reporter’s question about the news account. “It’s very unfortunate to our company, and, hey, we’ll have to get through it.”
Larry D. Kump served in the House of Delegates from the eastern panhandle under Governor Justice and is contemplating a return to the legislature. What’s all the fuss, he asks?
“The good news for West Virginia is that it will not affect the State of West Virginia, not the governor’s performance in office,” said Kump.
Besides, says Kump, voters are used to hearing news accounts of the governor’s rickety business dealings.
“It’s true that his financial dealings were an issue in the last election, but it did not deter him from winning by a large margin,” Kump said.
Despite front-page Wall Street Journal and traction in the financial press, as far as Kump is concerned, “As a practical matter I don’t think this is going to affect him by any large measure politically.”
The buzz about the governor’s predicament has been circulating for months. Governor Justice was elected as a Democrat in 2016, re-elected as a Republican in 2020 and is the owner of the famed Greenbrier resort in southern West Virginia.