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Lawyer files intention to sue for governor’s residence

CHARLESTON, West Virginia (AP) – A lawyer and former West Virginia lawmaker has filed a notice stating that he again intends to sue Governor Jim Justice for his residence.

Isaac Sponaugle on Thursday sent to court an intention to sue for 30 days over the governor’s alleged failure to comply with a March 1 settlement agreement to reside at the seat of government in Charleston, the Charleston Gazette reported. -Mail.

“Jim Justice has 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 he does full time is in Greenbrier County.

Justice agreed in March to live in Charleston, ending a lawsuit brought by Sponaugle in 2018 because the state constitution stipulates that the governor “must reside at the seat of government”.

At the time, the judge said through his lawyer that he intended to reside in Charleston “in accordance with the definition of” reside “in the opinion of the Supreme Court of Appeal”, according to the termination order signed by Senior Status Circuit Judge Dan O’Hanlon. .

The 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 principal place of physical presence of the executive official be the seat of government for the duration of its mandate.

Justice personal attorneys Mike Carey and Steve Ruby said in a statement Thursday that Sponaugle was “gaining media attention by trying to revive this unnecessary lawsuit.”

“The people of West Virginia know exactly how hard Governor Justice works and how much he has accomplished for the state. They know he’s at work for them every day, whether it’s in Charleston or among the 99% of West Virginia people who don’t live in the capital, “the statement said.

He did not directly respond to Sponaugle’s claim that justice is not following the terms of the March settlement, the newspaper reported.