Maynard calls accusations ‘nonsense’

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A motion filed by Harman Mining attorney Bruce Stanley says these pictures of Chief Justice Spike Maynard, left, and Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship were taken in July 2006 in Monaco.

By Greg Collard

West Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Spike Maynard says it’s “nonsense” that he’s done anything improper in hearing a case involving Massey Energy.

Maynard issued a statement Tuesday afternoon after the owner of Harman Mining filed an amended motion that asks him to recuse himself from a case in which the Supreme Court, in a 3-2 decision, overturned a 2002 $50 million verdict against Massey. With interest, damages had grown to $76 million by the time the case reached the Supreme Court.

“I don’t reward my friends, or punish my enemies from the bench. I have never denied my friendship with Mr. Blankenship,” Maynard says in his prepared statement. “Our friendship has never influenced any decision I’ve made for the court.”

In the motion filed Monday, Harman attorney Bruce Stanley included pictures that show Maynard and Blankenship together in Monaco. The motion says the pictures were taken in July 2006.

“The attached photographs clearly evidence the appearance of impropriety…These photographs raise over this honorable court, the highest and sole appellate court of this state, the specter of corruption or worse,” the motion states.

The original motion filed January 7th asks Maynard to recuse himself after Stanley said he was informed that Massey CEO Don Blankenship and Maynard ate dinner together on Nov. 8th at a restaurant in Logan. The ruling in Massey’s favor was issued November 21st.

The owner of Harman Mining, Hugh Caperton, has since filed a petition to rehear the case in which Massey is accused of illegally forcing Harman out of business.

As for the pictures in Monaco, Massey spokesman Jeff Gillenwater said Blankenship and Maynard were in the same region at the same time, but did not travel together. Gillenwater said Maynard was in Nice, France, and Blankenship was in nearby Monte Carlo.  While there, Gillenwater said they occasionally ate lunch or dinner.

                       

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