Gov. Justice agrees to live in government seat, ending case

West Virginia

This photo shows the West Virginia governor’s mansion on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, in Charleston, W.Va. A persistent lawsuit is drawing on the state constitution in an effort to force Republican Gov. Jim Justice to live at the governor’s mansion. Democratic Del. Isaac Sponaugle filed the case and accuses Justice of violating a passage in the state Constitution that says the governor “shall reside at the seat of government.” The result has been a long legal back and forth centered on the definition of the word reside. A judge requested more documents from both sides after a brief court hearing Wednesday. (AP Photo/Anthony Izaguirre)

CHARLESTON, WV (AP) – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has agreed to live in the seat of state government in Charleston, ending a long-running challenge over his residency.

An order dismissing a 2018 lawsuit Monday says Justice indicated through his attorney that he intends to reside in Charleston. A judge says that agreement renders the case filed by a former state lawmaker moot.

Under the order, Justice has agreed to pay $65,000 to ex-lawmaker Isaac Sponaugle in attorney fees and costs. In November, the state Supreme Court rejected arguments from Justice that the courts cannot force him to live in the state capital, allowing the case to continue.

Justice has defended living in Lewisburg even though the state constitution says the governor “shall reside at the seat of government” in Charleston.

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