BECKLEY – Powerball winner Jack Whittaker has found himself as a defendant in another lawsuit, this time for allegedly illegal timbering and other contracting work.
Paul Vin Properties Inc. filed a lawsuit July 30 in Raleigh Circuit Court against Andrew J. “Jack” Whittaker, Whittaker LLC and Blackburn Pre-Owned Autos LLC. Whittaker owns both of the defendant companies.
In the complaint, the plaintiff company says it owns real estate adjacent to property owned by Whittaker LLC in Raleigh County that is occupied by Blackburn’s Pre-Owned Autos.
The company claims that sometime in late 2013 or early 2014, agents for Whittaker and his companies entered its property and “cut standing timber and removed approximately 4,000 cubic yards of dirt without permission or authorization.”
Whittaker’s agents “left timber lying on the ground, and left a large hole in the property from where the dirt had been removed,” according to the complaint.
The plaintiff company says it discovered the damage in February, and it claims the dirt was sold to West Virginia Paving and/or the West Virginia Turnpike Authority “for which Whittaker, Whittaker LLC and Blackburn received substantial sums.”
The plaintiff accuses the defendants of trespass, trespass to timber, conversion and negligence.
It seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as attorney fees, court costs and other relief.
This is the first time Whittaker has been involved in civil litigation.
Earlier this year, an insurance company claimed Whittaker, Whittaker Equipment Inc., Diversified Enterprise Inc. and other individuals owe nearly $400,000 over an indemnity agreement related to various construction projects.
Also earlier this year, Whittaker was sued for allegedly failing to pay a $10,000 reward for a lost ring.
On Christmas 2002, Whittaker won a then-record $314 million Powerball drawing. He elected to take the cash option of $170.5 million cash, which resulted in a $113 million check after taxes.
Legal troubles began soon after that. In 2003, thieves broke into his car at a strip club in Cross Lanes and took a suitcase that held $545,000. In 2004, thieves again broke into his car and took about $200,000. That was later recovered.
He later was sued by Caesars in Atlantic City for bouncing $1.5 million worth of checks. He countersued, claiming he was supposed to have been credited due to a slot machine he developed.
In 2007, Whittaker claimed thieves had taken all of his money from 12 branches of City National Bank. He made that claim after failing to make payments to a woman who had sued him.
Several of Whittaker’s various businesses also have been sued over the years.
In this latest timber case, Paul Vin Properties Inc. is being represented by Robert H. Sweeney Jr. of Jenkins Fenstermaker PLLC in Huntington and by Scott Depot attorney Mark K. Prim. The case has been assigned to Raleigh Circuit Judge H.L. Kirkpatrick.
Raleigh Circuit Court case number 14-C-758-K