West Virginians should stand up to Blankenship

By The West Virginia Record | Aug 31, 2006


I would like to respond to your editorial entitled "Starcher's mouth everyone's problem" (Aug. 21).

I find it interesting that while you criticize Justice Larry Starcher for his "railings" about Don Blankenship, you somehow give Mr. Blankenship a free pass at his railing about a sitting Supreme Court Justice while Massey Energy, the company for which he serves as CEO, has a pending appeal in front of that very court.

I am the president of Harman Mining Corp. and almost nine years ago, Don Blankenship sat in my office in Beckley and threatened me that if I took my dispute with Massey to court that they would spend millions on attorneys and would tie me up in court for years.

We took Massey to court, and a Boone County jury found them guilty of fraud and tortious interference and awarded me and my companies in excess of $50 million. This was after a jury in Buchanan County, Va., found a former Massey subsidiary guilty of breach of contract in an earlier suit brought by Harman.

Nine years later, Don Blankenship has been true to his word. He has tied me up in court for years and he has spent millions of Massey's stockholders money in doing so.

During that time, Massey has been given their due process in state courts in Virginia and West Virginia, the Virginia Supreme Court, a Federal Court in West Virginia and a Federal Bankruptcy Court in Virginia. All along, Massey has filed motion after motion that has caused nothing but delay after delay in bringing this matter to a final conclusion. All of this delay has been at the expense of Harman's employees and our creditors.

As someone who respects our judicial system, it would be improper for me to comment on the Supreme Court or any of the sitting justices while I have a matter pending before the court. But in the four years since the verdict in Boone County, I have watched Don Blankenship, combined with the organization "And For The Sake Of The Kids", spend nearly $4 million to unseat one Supreme Court justice and promise to spend whatever it takes to get rid of another justice. In the last two months alone, I have watched Massey sue the court reporter in our case, threaten to sue the sitting trial judge and last but not least sue the Supreme Court itself because they claim that they have been denied their constitutional right of due process.

Does anyone really think that Don Blankenship and Massey have spent millions on elections, lawyers and lawsuits since the Harman verdict because they are standing up for all of us West Virginians or is it really because Mr. Blankenship and Massey are just trying to avoid justice?

West Virginians don't need Don Blankenship standing up for them. What we need to do is stand up to Don Blankenship.

Caperton is president of Harman Mining Corp.

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