By Carra Higgins
West Virginians Jim Justice and Chris Cline are once again among the 400 wealthiest people in the United States. This is the second consecutive year the two have made the Forbes 400 list, which was announced Thursday.
Justice, 61, a resident of Lewisburg and owner of The Greenbrier, is listed at number 298 with $1.6 billion in assets, which were acquired mostly from the state’s well-known natural resource, coal.
In 2009, Justice sold his company's West Virginia coal resources to Russian mining and steel company Mechel OAO for $436 million in cash and approximately $240 million worth of Mechel preferred shares. Justice Companies still holds coal interests in Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky, as well as active farmland in West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky.
In 2011 Justice contributed $25 million to the Boy Scouts of America for the organization’s new reserve in Fayette County.
Justice attended Marshall University, where he received a bachelor’s degree and Master of Business Administration.
Cline, 54, a Raleigh County native who currently resides in North Palm Beach, Fla., is listed at number 360 with a $1.2 billion net worth. His fortune has also been made through coal.
He got into the coal business at age 21. In 1980 Cline’s father bought out a mining partner for $500,000 and Cline received a share. Currently, Cline’s business, Foresight Energy, produces approximately 20 million tons of coal annually predominately mined in Illinois.