Months after deadline, Justice files Senate finance report showing little income, big debts

By: - September 26, 2023 5:11 pm

Gov. Jim Justice gives his State of the State address earlier this year. (West Virginia Legislative Photography | Perry Bennett)

Gov. Jim Justice filed his federally mandated financial disclosures for his Senate run on Monday – more than four months after they were initially due.

The disclosures show that between Justice’s basketball coaching gig (which earned him $3,500) and 147 assets listed, the Justice household brought in – at most – $77,500 in income over the last year. 

Per the disclosure form, Justice and his wife received no income from 138 of the assets he listed, which range from real estate investments, businesses operated by the Justice family, stocks and interest-bearing bank accounts. 

This is despite a number of the assets on the disclosure being valued up to or over $50 million. All the assets together, according to ranges provided on the disclosure form, are valued at anywhere between $38 million and almost $2 billion.

While Justice reported making $250,000 from his salary as governor over the past year, he donates that salary to the state Department of Education as a payroll deduction after paying income tax.

Justice also reported on the disclosure from a pile of debts, which have publicly plagued the governor in recent years. In 2021, Forbes downgraded him from a billionaire to a millionaire due to mounting debts and unpaid bills

Per the form – which lists the monetary amounts of both liabilities and assets in ranges – Justice owes anywhere between $37.6 million and $108.1 million in promissory notes, lines of credit and judgments.

Two of the promissory notes listed – each for between $1 million and $5 million – are from the Cary Foundation and Bray Cary, who served as Justice’s senior advisor until stepping down in July 2021. That same week, Justice appointed Cary to the West Virginia University Board of Governors, a position he is set to hold until 2025. 

The promissory notes are both dated for Aug. 31, 2021. While unpaid, Cary is listed as the sole officer on publicly available 990 forms for the Cary Foundation, which has been a tax-exempt organization since 1997, according to ProPublica.

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Caity Coyne
Caity Coyne

Caity Coyne covers state policy and how it intersects with individuals and communities for West Virginia Watch. She's been reporting in West Virginia for 10 years, most recently covering public health and the Southern Coalfields for the Charleston Gazette-Mail.