Life is hard for many in West Virginia. Jobs are scarce and often they don’t pay well. But some people thrive by taking advantage of easy money. Take West Virginia governor, Jim Justice.
Justice inherited coal mines from his father, expanded the business and then sold most of the mines to a Russian investor for about half-a-billion dollars. He later bought them back for only $5 million.
He used some of that money to buy The Greenbrier Resort and started seeking money and tax breaks from the state of West Virginia. He continues to do so now that he’s governor. He has refused to sell his businesses or put them in a blind trust. As reported in the Charleston Gazette-Mail in partnership with ProPublica:
Last year, as the state’s chief executive, he decided to include The Greenbrier in a federal “opportunity zone.” Intended to help underdeveloped communities, the designation makes new investments in the targeted area eligible for lucrative tax breaks.
At the same time, Justice and Greenbrier officials sought additional assistance from Greenbrier County, where the resort has long been the largest employer. Working together, they pressed county commissioners to set aside more than $10 million in taxpayer funds to finance or jump-start projects related to The Greenbrier. The proposed upgrades range from a new laundry to a long-planned ski area.
Gov. Justice promised to improve the lives of all West Virginians if he was elected. He seems more interested in improving his own bottom line.