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WKU Public Radio is part of a new regional journalism collaborative known as the Ohio Valley ReSource. It's made up of public media stations across Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. The collaborative will focus on the changing economy in the region and its effect on jobs, healthcare and infrastructure. Each station taking part in the Ohio Valley ReSource is hiring a reporter to contribute to the effort. WKU Public Radio's reporter is Alana Watson, who will be based in the Bowling Green newsroom. The Ohio Valley ReSource is made possible by member stations and through a grant from the Corporation For Public Broadcasting.

Court Orders U.S. Marshal to Collect $1 Million Owed by Justice-Controlled Companies

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JESSE WRIGHT / WEST VIRGINIA PUBLIC BROADCASTING
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A federal court has ordered the U.S. Marshal to collect more than $1 million owed by two coal companies controlled by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia issued the writ of execution Wednesday, giving the U.S. Marshal the go-ahead to tap into multiple bank accounts associated with two Justice family-controlled coal companies, Southern Coal Corporation and Kentucky Fuel Corporation.

Paper company WestRock CP LLC and Southern Coal Corp. 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 Corp. stopped. This year, a federal court awarded WestRock a settlement totaling just over $1 million.

When asked about the order at an event in Parkersburg Thursday, Justice said he had not been notified.

“I don’t know a thing in the world about it,” he said. “I really don’t.”

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.

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