West Virginia mining billionaire Jim Justice runs companies that are accused of taking too long to pay its suppliers.
Associated Press interviewed various suppliers, as well as looking at court records, and found many businesses who are struggling due to unpaid bills. Justice is ranked number 292 on Forbes wealthiest Americans list with an estimated net worth of US$1.7 billion:
"There is some angry, angry people," said Mark Miracle, the owner of Dynatech Electronics in Harlan, Ky. Miracle says he is owed about $150,000 for electrical mining supplies provided to three Justice mining companies more than a year ago. "They owe a lot of people a lot of money."
In an interview with The Associated Press, Justice acknowledged his companies have some debts but said they are emblematic of the coal industry’s wider struggles.
“The coal business is terrible, it’s just terrible and we’re doing everything in our power to stay open and keep people working,” Justice said. “We’re one of the few (companies) that are even still working, trying to employ people and pay taxes.”
Image by Jennifer Woodard Maderazo