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A federal judge ruled this week that one of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s businesses owes more than $1.5 million to a Swiss company for undelivered coal.

U.S. District Judge Elizabeth K. Dillon on Tuesday granted a request from VISA Commodities to enforce an April order from a London-based arbitrator that found Bluestone Coal Sales Corp. liable for $1.5 million plus arbitration costs and interest, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

The problem started when Bluestone failed to supply 70,000 metric tons of coal under a November 2020 agreement, according to VISA Commodities’ court filings. In an April 2021 settlement, Bluestone agreed to pay VISA Commodities $1.5 million by July 30, 2021. But Bluestone failed to pay and also failed to participate in the subsequent arbitration, according to VISA Commodities’ filing with the Virginia Western District court.

Neither the Governor’s Office nor an attorney for Justice’s coal companies responded to the newspaper’s requests for comment.

Justice’s coal companies have a long history of unpaid obligations. Federal officials have said nearly two dozen of Justice’s companies were consistently late in making monthly payments on $5.13 million in mine safety fines they agreed to pay in 2020. Justice is listed as controller of nearly 200 mines with safety fine delinquencies totaling $1.7 million, according to federal Mine Safety and Health Administration records obtained by the Gazette-Mail.

Workers have also complained of missed obligations. Trustees of a United Mine Workers union benefit plan filed a federal lawsuit last year asserting that three of Justice’s coal companies failed to pay required monthly premiums over four years. And retirees of Justice’s coal companies have complained in recent years of interruptions to their prescription drug coverage.

Justice pledged to put his adult children in charge of his family’s businesses after taking office in 2017. James C. “Jay” Justice III, the governor’s son, is president of Bluestone Coal Sales Corp., based in Roanoke, Virginia. The governor has suggested in court proceedings and interviews since taking office that he remains familiar with his coal companies’ operations.


Charles Booker’s political stock rose in Democratic circles two years ago as he voiced outrage over the deaths of Black Americans in encounters with police, including in his hometown in Kentucky.

That climb out of obscurity has given the Black former state lawmaker from Louisville a springboard to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a nationally known former presidential candidate who is seeking a third term in ruby red Kentucky.

Seeking wider appeal beyond core Democratic voters in a conservative state, Booker has now jumped into the fray on abortion access in the Bluegrass State after the demise of Roe v. Wade. The issue is at the forefront of Kentucky’s Nov. 8 election, when voters will decide whether to amend the state’s constitution to declare outright that it doesn’t protect the right to an abortion. Abortion-rights supporters hope to build a majority coalition against the amendment that includes independents and moderates from both major parties.

In campaigning, Booker is showing the same zeal for abortion rights that he did for social and economic justice issues in 2020, when he barely lost his party’s Senate primary — a surprisingly strong showing and launchpad for securing the Democratic nomination this year.

And he’s using the issue to challenge Paul’s deeply rooted national reputation as a champion of keeping government out of people’s lives, even as the senator has vowed to support legislation toward ending legal abortion.


Protesters opposed to the Supreme Court’s decision overturning abortion rights briefly interrupted arguments at the court Wednesday and urged women to vote in next week’s elections.

It was the first courtroom disruption since the court’s decision in June that stripped away women’s constitutional protections for abortion after nearly a half-century under Roe v. Wade.

Three people stood up in the courtroom in the first few minutes of Wednesday’s session to denounce the abortion ruling, which came in a case from Mississippi, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

“Our right to choose will not be taken away,” one protester said. “Women, vote for our right to choose.”

The justices did not appear to react to the disruption. The protesters did not resist when police led them away.

The protesters, identified as Emily Archer Paterson, Rolande Dianne Baker and Nicole Elizabeth Enfield, were charged were violating a law against making a “harangue” in the Supreme Court building and another barring interference with the administration of justice, court spokeswoman Patricia McCabe said by email.

The justices heard arguments Wednesday in a case involving reporting requirements under the Bank Secrecy Act. After a 19-month closure because of the coronavirus pandemic, the courtroom was reopened to the public in October.


A Utah-based resort company has completed its purchase of Jay Peak Resort, the northern Vermont ski area that was at the center of a financial scandal involving its former owner and president.

Pacific Group Resorts, which owns five other ski areas, announced Tuesday that the state of Vermont had approved the assignment of leases for ski terrain, allowing the sale to close. A federal judge in September approved the company’s $76 million bid to buy Jay Peak after it won an auction for the ski area.

“The leadership and guests of Jay Peak are fortunate to have an experienced resort operator like PGRI take the helm from here,” said court-appointed receiver Michael Goldberg, who has been overseeing the resort for the last 6 1/2 years.

Mark Fischer, PGRI’s executive vice-president and CFO, said in a statement that Jay Peak “is a highly respected resort property widely known for its prodigious snowfall and avid patrons” that fits into the company’s strategy of “geographic diversification.” He also said Jay Peak has dedicated staff that have created “a strong mountain culture.”

Pacific Groups Resorts’ other ski areas include Ragged Mountain Resort in New Hampshire and Powderhorn Mountain Resort in Colorado, as well as properties in British Columbia, Virginia and Maryland.


Even before Republican legislators this summer made Indiana the first state to pass an abortion ban since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Democrats started urging angry voters to take their revenge at the ballot box.

Indiana Democrats haven’t let up on that push in the final days of this year’s elections, although a limited number of competitive races on the Nov. 8 ballot for the currently Republican-dominated Legislature leave them with slim chances of being able to do much about abortion access that is also being debated during campaigns across the country.

Indiana Republicans, meanwhile, argue that voters are more worried about other issues such as inflation and crime — concerns widely believed to favor the GOP.

Democratic candidate Joey Mayer said the abortion ban has remained a top issue as she’s talked with voters in a northern Indianapolis suburban district where she’s challenging a four-term Republican House member who voted in favor of the ban when it passed in August.


The Supreme Court on Monday rejected Turkey’s bid to shut down lawsuits in U.S. courts stemming from a violent brawl outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington more than five years ago that left anti-government protesters badly beaten.

The justices did not comment in turning away Turkey’s arguments that American law shields foreign countries from most lawsuits. Lower courts ruled that those protections did not extend to the events of May 16, 2017, when during a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “Turkish security forces violently clashed with a crowd of protesters,” as one judge described the situation.

The Supreme Court’s action allows the lawsuits to proceed. In the lawsuits, protesters claim they were brutally punched and kicked, cursed at and greeted with slurs and throat-slashing gestures. One woman slipped in and out of consciousness and has suffered seizures, and others reported post-traumatic stress, depression, concussions and nightmares, according to the complaints.

The high court had put off a decision about whether to intervene for months, asking for the Biden administration’s views on the legal issues presented.

Turkey can be sued in these circumstances, the Justice Department said in its high court filing, concluding that lower courts were correct in finding that the U.S. ally does not have legal immunity.

Lawyers for the Turkish government had told the court that Erdogan’s security detail had discretion to use physical force because it was protecting its head of state in a potentially dangerous situation.


A federal court jury has decided that New Jersey police did not violate the civil rights of a man who died shortly after a physical altercation during his arrest 7 1/2 years ago.

After a trial, jurors in federal court in Camden sided with the city Oct. 19 in a lawsuit filed by relatives of 32-year-old Vineland resident Phillip White, according to court records.

Officers had responded in March 2015 to reports of a man “freaking out” on the street and eventually subdued White after a struggle captured on video by a bystander. The video showed an officer hitting White and a police dog being used during the arrest.

White died on the way to the hospital, and an autopsy cited a toxic level of the drug Phencyclidine, or PCP, in his system. Injuries from the K9’s actions were noted but deemed superficial by a medical examiner.

Cumberland County prosecutors said in 2016 that a grand jury had declined to indict the two Vineland officers involved. White’s relatives filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city and the two officers, one of whom was later dismissed as a defendant.'

“We believe very strongly in our client and our client’s cause, but the jury didn’t see it that way,” said Michael Galpern, an attorney for White’s mother, Pamela, told NJ Advance Media for NJ.com. He said the defense was considering whether to appeal.

An attorney for Vineland and its police department declined comment, NJ.com reported.

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