In Depth: The ongoing legal and financial disputes between Justice-owned companies and Carter Bank

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV (WOAY) – “I don’t believe that there will be one ounce of anything sold.”

In his first public comment on the scheduled trustee’s sale of the Greenbrier Sporting Club, his five-star resort in White Sulphur Springs, Governor Jim Justice looked to paint a different picture of an ongoing saga that involves over a billion dollars in disputed debts between his family and Carter Bank and Trust, a bank that was founded by the governor’s close friend.

The Justice family owes around $300 million to the Virginia-based bank, and that loan came due last April. Since then, Carter Bank has been attempting to collect the money. The sale of the Greenbrier would be one more step in that process.

Governor Justice addressed the issue in his weekly public briefing and alluded to legal disagreements his companies have with the bank, both related to his debts and otherwise.. He was cryptic, due largely to confidentiality agreements that he says are in place, but he shifted the blame towards the bank.

“There are so many other extenuating circumstances where maybe we could have paid for it, you know, and maybe we were blocked. I want to tell you so bad what these people have done,” Justice said. “I’ll be able to do it someday, but I can’t do it right now.”

Worth Carter was a close friend of Governor Justice- and the founder of the bank that Justice now owes hundreds of millions of dollars to.


Justice’s rocky relationship with Carter Bank was not always that way. He was close with the founder, Worth Carter. Carter was beside him when Justice broke ground at the site of a new casino at the Greenbrier.

When Worth Carter died back in 2017, it was Justice who delivered the eulogy.

“For 20 years, I basically had all of our banking with Carter Bank and Worth Carter. We never missed a payment and were never late on a payment. We absolutely were the greatest of friends,” Justice said.

Since Carter’s death, the relationship between the bank and the Justice family went downhill. In Justice’s words, the bank has become “terrible.”

“Worth Carter dies, and then the bank turns upside down and turns 1,000% in a 180 degree direction,” Justice said. “Since that time, we have been paralyzed in our businesses over and over and over by the activities of this bank. And we put up with it because to be perfectly honest, we didn’t know what else to do.”

This is not the first time that Justice’s properties have been put up for auction. Last year, several of his properties across the state were auctioned off due to unpaid property taxes.

“I’m not saying by any stretch of the imagination that our companies or our family is perfect,” Justice said in a briefing on June 20, 2023, in response to these sales. “I’m saying it’s easy to catch a lot of errors because you are a public official. I would say just this. Absolutely our companies and family will meet our obligations and do what’s right.”

“Leave my family’s business to my son and daughter. Let them do their job, and at the end of the day, see where it comes out.”

The Debt

According to Carter Bank, Justice and his companies owe roughly $301 million dollars. This January, the bank sent a statement to shareholders that it plans to take whatever avenues possible to get the money that it feels that it owes.

“Banks have an obligation to their shareholders and the financial system to collect in full all amounts that are due and owing to them. Carter Bank is no different from any other bank in this regard. As with all its customers, Carter Bank expects to be repaid by the Justice Entities in full all amounts due and owing although the timing of such payment in full in these matters is presently indeterminate,” the statement reads.

Further, the statement lists several people in the Justice family who have personally guaranteed the debt: the governor himself, his wife Cathy, and James C. Justice III, his son.

The matter lies in federal court. Motions filed with the court listed the numerous debts owed by Justice’s companies, and detailed who accepted liability for the debts.

Lawyers representing the Justice companies argued that those documents be set aside, due to violations of business law and due process. The court rejected that argument.

According to Justice, he has always made good on his payments to Carter Bank in the past.

“There was a day that we owed Carter Banks… $780 million and that was when Worth Carter died and through that amount of time, we have paid them diligently,” Justice said. “Through that time, we’ve paid them down $480 million.”

Further, Justice says he wants to pay off his debts.

“I want Carter back to be paid off in full. But really and truly Carter Bank has got a real dilemma on their hands because on one hand, we may very well owe Carter Bank $300 million. But on another hand, we feel like they owe us an excess of a billion [dollars],” Justice said.

The billion dollars Justice is referring to stems from a lawsuit filed in Raleigh County back in November. The lawsuit alleges that Carter Bank kept Justice’s companies from getting loans from other banks, a similar argument to the one that Justice’s attorneys made in Carter Bank’s case against him.

Justice filed a suit back in 2021 against the bank as well. That lawsuit was dismissed.

“Carter Bank has been terrible beyond belief…we’re not going to put up with it anymore,” Justice said, referring to November’s lawsuit. “We think our claims are absolutely valid and justified.”

Justice says ongoing financial disputes are not a distraction from duties as governor.

The Future

The Greenbrier Sporting Resort’s sale is set for March 5, 2024, at 11 a.m. It will take place at the front door of the Greenbrier County courthouse.

According to West Virginia state law, the money raised from a trustee’s sale shall pay the debts that are owed after expenses related to the trust are paid. The total amount of money secured by the trust is $250 million, according to the legal ad for the deed.

The ad indicates that the land for sale at the Greenbrier will be separated into multiple properties, referred to as GVS I, GVS II, GVS III, Howard’s Creek III, Ridges II, Ridges III and Ridges VI. The description of each of those properties refers to portions of the “planned community known as ‘The Greenbrier Sporting Club.'”

Justice suggested during his briefing on Wednesday that he doesn’t believe the property will actually be sold. The ad states that the “successor trustee,” or person who is selling the property to reclaim debt, can adjourn the sale.

Further, Justice says that the ongoing controversy surrounding his businesses will not distract him from his work as governor. He is content to leave matters related to his companies in the hands of his children.

“My kids got it… I’m way, way, way in the background,” Justice said. “There’s no way on earth that I’m going to take one second of focus off of what my job has been since day one. I put up with this nonsense the whole time I’ve been here.”


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