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Records show West Virginia governor's company owes $1M

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Tax Department officials have filed four new liens for almost $1 million against one of the coal companies owned by Gov. Jim Justice and his family, court records show.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that the liens are against Tams Management Inc. for unpaid severance taxes for mining coal and unpaid reclamation taxes for cleaning up abandoned mine sites.

Records on file at the Kanawha County Courthouse show Tams Management owes the state nearly $972,000 for taxes, interest and penalties.

In a statement, an attorney for James C. Justice Companies Inc. tells the newspaper that Tams Management remains committed to honoring all its tax obligations.

As governor, Justice has turned over coal company operations to his son, Jay Justice.

Earlier this week, a federal appeals court upheld $1.23 million in civil contempt fines ordered against Justice Energy Co., another of the family's coal companies.

James River Equipment, a Virginia-based company, sued in November 2013 for $150,000 for unpaid parts, service and equipment. That claim was settled for $180,000 last year.

However, the federal judge had imposed $30,000 daily fines to compel Justice Energy to provide documents and appear in court, something its lawyers later argued they didn't know about since the mining operation was a recent acquisition and a carry-over company representative didn't tell them for a year.

In February, tax liens filed in Raleigh County where Justice parent company Southern Coal Corp. is based, showed another $4.4 million in unpaid state taxes due at least a year earlier.

The current status of those liens was unclear Friday.

Southern Coal has said it will meet every obligation it owes. It didn't say when.

Grant Herring, spokesman for the governor, directed questions to the companies.

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