The Greenbrier Sporting Club, a luxury residential community owned by the family of West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, is facing a foreclosure auction by a Virginia bank that claims the family owes more than $300 million in unpaid loans.
Bank seeks to recover longstanding debt
Carter Bank & Trust of Martinsville, Virginia, published a legal notice in the Charleston Gazette-Mail on Tuesday, announcing that it will auction off 20 lots of land at the Greenbrier Sporting Club on March 5 at the Greenbrier County Courthouse in Lewisburg. The bank said that the Justice family and their companies defaulted on several loans that were secured by the property, and that the bank has the right to sell the collateral to satisfy the debt.
The Greenbrier Sporting Club is a private equity club and residential community that opened in 2000. It offers exclusive access to amenities such as golf courses, tennis courts, spa, restaurants, and outdoor activities at the historic Greenbrier resort, which has hosted U.S. presidents and royalty. The club’s website says that it has more than 400 members and that the lots for sale range from $300,000 to $2 million.
Governor reveals personal liability for loans
The auction is the latest development in a long-running dispute between the bank and the Justice family, who own dozens of businesses in various sectors, including coal, agriculture, hospitality, and tourism. Governor Jim Justice, a Republican, bought the Greenbrier resort out of bankruptcy in 2009 and has been running it ever since. The PGA Tour held a tournament at the resort from 2010 until 2019.
In a 2021 lawsuit that Justice and his companies filed against Carter Bank, the governor revealed that he is personally on the hook for $368 million in remaining loan debt to that bank. He also said that a close business relationship dramatically fell apart after the death of the bank’s founder, Worth Carter, in 2017. The 2021 lawsuit was later dismissed, but the Justice companies filed another lawsuit against the bank last November, accusing it of breach of contract, fraud, and interference with business relations.
Governor faces other legal and financial troubles
The auction is not the only legal and financial trouble that the governor and his family are facing. Justice, who is finishing his second term as governor this year and is running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Joe Manchin, has been the subject of numerous court claims that he has been late in paying millions of dollars he owes in fines, such as for unsafe working conditions at his coal mines.
Last year, dozens of properties owned by Justice in three counties were put up for auction as payment for delinquent real estate taxes. The governor has also been criticized for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the state’s vaccination program, which has been plagued by delays and errors.
The governor has denied any wrongdoing and has said that he is not involved in the day-to-day operations of his businesses. He has also said that he is confident that he will win the lawsuit against the bank and that he will pay his taxes and fines as soon as possible.