Jim Justice-owned coal company faces $1.23 million in fines

A gavel. (courtesy MGN Online)
A gavel. (courtesy MGN Online)(KCRG)
Published: Feb. 26, 2016 at 10:31 PM EST
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BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) -- A coal company owned by billionaire businessman Jim Justice faces $1.23 million in fines for contempt of court after a judge said the company didn't pay debts and repeatedly didn't show up for court hearings.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger in Beckley ordered the fines Friday against Justice Energy Co.

On Jan. 5, Berger ordered the company in contempt for not paying a nearly $150,000 debt owed to a construction equipment company.

Berger fined the company $30,000 per day, beginning Jan. 5. The more-than-2-year-old debt was paid back Feb. 15.

Company spokesman Tom Lusk says it's a step to clean the mess left by the Russian operation that owned the company and ran up the debt.

Justice, who also owns The Greenbrier resort, is running for governor as a Democrat.