Bankrupt coal company Blackjewel accuses former CEO of fraud
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Attorneys for bankrupt coal company Blackjewel LLC and its creditors are asking a federal judge to let them examine the finances of former CEO Jeff Hoops, alleging that he took millions of dollars for personal gain, according to court documents.
In documents filed Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, lawyers for West Virginia-based Blackjewel said the company was “woefully insolvent” by the time it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.
“This level of insolvency and inevitable bankruptcy filings were the result of a years-long effort by Mr. Hoops to transfer tens of millions of dollars of the Debtors’ assets for his benefit and the benefit of his family and other Hoops-Related Entities,” the filing said.
Hoops said he had been advised by his attorney not to comment on the allegations.
The bankruptcy filing followed by the loss off a crucial creditor shut down operations at Blackjewel’s 32 coal mines in Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
At the time of its bankruptcy filing, Blackjewel owed about $146 million in unpaid taxes and also owed workers unpaid wages and retirement funding.
The vast majority of former Blackjewel workers have not received the full compensation they were promised, according to investigations by Wyoming’s Labor Standards Office. Only 33 workers out of 506 owed money have filed a compensation claim with the state.