West Virginia's Jim Justice Sued Again Over Not Living in Governor's Mansion Full Time

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice is expected to be sued for a second time for not residing full time in the governor's mansion, the Associated Press reported.

Isaac Sponaugle, a lawyer and former lawmaker in the state, filed a 30-day intent to sue notice Thursday with allegations that Justice did not heed the terms of a March 1 settlement agreement to live full time in the Charleston residence, according to a report from the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

"Jim Justice needs to decide what he wants to do with his time," Sponaugle said. "He's a part-time governor, part-time businessman and part-time basketball coach. The only thing that he's doing full time is residing in Greenbrier County."

Sponaugle filed a lawsuit against Justice in 2018 because of a stipulation in the West Virginia constitution that the governor "shall reside at the seat of the government." At the time of the March agreement, Justice's attorney said on his behalf that he planned to live in Charleston "consistent with the definition of 'reside' in the Supreme Court of Appeals' opinion," according to the dismissal order signed by Senior Status Circuit Judge Dan O'Hanlon.

Sponaugle is now alleging that Justice hasn't complied with the March settlement agreement in the Kanawha Circuit Court, the Gazette-Mail reported.

"Jim Justice hasn't lived up to his word that he would reside at the seat of government," Sponaugle said. "It's his choice on how this will proceed, but he will reside at the seat of government, either voluntarily or involuntarily, as long as he remains governor of the state of West Virginia."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Jim Justice to Be Sued Again
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice is slated to be sued a second time for not residing in the governor's mansion in Charleston. Above, Justice speaks during the State of the State Address in the House Chambers of the West Virginia State Capitol Building in Charleston on February 10, 2021. Chris Jackson/AP Photo

The Supreme Court concluded in 2020 that "reside" is not a discretionary term, and determined that the constitutional definition of reside means "to live, primarily, at the seat of government and requires that the executive official's principal place of physical presence is the seat of government for the duration of his or her term in office."

Justice's personal attorneys, Mike Carey and Steve Ruby, said in a statement Thursday that Sponaugle is "grasping for media attention by trying to revive this pointless suit."

"The people of West Virginia know exactly how hard Governor Justice works and how much he's accomplished for the state. They know he's on the job for them every day, either in Charleston or out among the 99 percent of West Virginians who don't live in the capital," the statement said.

It did not directly address Sponaugle's assertion that Justice isn't abiding by terms of the March settlement, the newspaper reported.

Jim Justice Faces Second Lawsuit
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice is facing a second lawsuit for his alleged failure to reside at the governor's mansion. Above, Justice, owner of The Greenbrier, speaks to the crowd during the final round of the Greenbrier Classic golf tournament at The Old White TPC on July 5, 2015, in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Darren Carroll/Getty Images