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Companies Owned by West Virginia Governor Agree to Catch Up On Mine Safety Fines


July 5, 2024 - Nearly two dozen companies owned by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice have agreed to catch up on fines owed to the U.S. government from a 2020 settlement over unsafe working conditions at his coal mines, according to a federal court filing.

The Republican governor was ordered to pay $5.1 million by a federal judge in April 2020 after the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration brought a lawsuit against 23 of his companies, saying he failed to pay fees associated with hundreds of mine safety penalties between 2014 and 2019.

The companies missed payments from February through June of this year “due to financial difficulties,” leading the government to ask the court to compel payment, according to documents filed Monday in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Virginia.

The companies resumed making payments in July and reached an agreement to pay the past-due balance of more than $500,000 over 10 weeks beginning in August.

“All payments shall be made timely,” the order states.

It’s the second time the government has filed a motion to compel payment. It also filed a motion last March, saying the companies were late on payments for at least three months.

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