At the heart of this case are contract disputes between a paper company called WestRock and two coal companies controlled by the Justice family.
WestRock and Southern Coal Corporation have for years been fighting in court over a coal supply agreement for a paper mill in Florida.
The parties had settled, but after making three payments, Southern Coal stopped. This year, a federal court awarded WestRock a settlement totalling just over one-million-dollars.
In an order signed Wednesday, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia gave the U.S. Marshal the go-ahead to tap into multiple bank accounts associated with Southern Coal and another Justice family-controlled coal company to retrieve those funds.
When asked about the order outside an event in Parkersburg Thursday, Justice said he had not been notified.
“I don’t know a thing in the world about it. I really don’t,” he said.
Reporting in 2016 by NPR, Ohio Valley ReSource and its partners found Justice’s companies owed about $15 million in overdue taxes and mine safety fees. Justice says taxes owed in West Virginia have been paid, but elsewhere officials are still seeking back taxes.