Bank Tries To Seize US Governor’s Salary

Bank Tries To Seize US Governor's Salary

( – West Virginia’s governor ran into an unexpected problem recently when a bank tried to garnish his wages. It says it’s trying to cover a judgment against one of his businesses; the governor says it’s a “political grandstand.”

On March 21, Citizens Bank of West Virginia filed a request for garnishment with the Randolph County Circuit Court. That isn’t too unusual, but the target of this request certainly was — the bank was going after Governor Jim Justice (R), who is also one of the state’s leading businessmen. One of his companies is Bluestone Resources, Inc, which borrowed $2.8 million from the bank but then defaulted on it. In October 2022, the bank won a court judgment awarding it $861,085 from Bluestone, which covers the remaining balance plus interest and costs.

The bank says Justice, who has an estimated personal worth of over half a billion dollars, guaranteed the loan personally. Now it’s trying to garnish 20% of his $150,000 gubernatorial salary every month for one year, which would get it $30,000 of the outstanding debt. Justice’s annual financial disclosure for 2022 doesn’t show any debts outstanding against him,

On March 29, reporters asked Justice about the bank’s application. He replied, “I hate this… I don’t even know anything about it.” He said he hasn’t had any notifications and had only heard about the problem that day. He confirmed he’d spoken to his son, who manages Bluestone, and the company was “in the process” of paying the debt. He also said the garnish application is a “political grandstand” and a way to hit back.

Justice said he’s simply a guarantor and doesn’t owe any money himself. That could affect the bank’s application, but even if the garnishment is granted Justice is likely to have the last laugh. He doesn’t actually take the salary the bank is trying to seize; he donates it all to a local education charity.

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