You are hereHuffington Post: Letter to Holder Calling for Blankenship Investigation

Huffington Post: Letter to Holder Calling for Blankenship Investigation

April 15, 2010- For anyone who has yet to connect the dots between Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's history of buying judicial seats, his ability to dodge multi-million dollar lawsuits and his attempts to de-unionize and de-regulate the mining industry, a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder calling for a RICO investigation into Blankenship's criminal behavior lays it out clearly.

The letter, penned by Attorney Kevin Zeese, on behalf of and Velvet Revolution, a non-profit watchdog group, provides Holder a punch list of Blankenship's alleged illegal activity including what Zeese says is prima facie evidence of obstruction of justice, fraud and homicide.

"Massey Energy consistently sacrifices the welfare of its employees in order to boost the bottom line. The latest death of 29 miners represents the fourth fatal accident in 12 years at Massey mines. The Upper Big Branch mine has racked up 1,342 safety violations since 2005, drawing $1.89 million in fines. And, 86 of those violations were for an inadequate ventilation plan that prevents the very type of explosions that caused these deaths. Last year alone, Massey's Upper Big Branch Mine was cited for 495 violations and $911,802 in fines. So far this year, regulators have found 105 violations at the mine. Twelve of those citations were issued in the last month. The same day of the explosion, the Upper Big Branch mine was hit with two additional safety violations."

Blankenship refuses to pay these million dollar fines and cleverly avoids Massey shutdowns by tying up the courts with appeals cases.

"Mr. Blankenship has challenged hundreds of citations and refused to pay fines. Figures show that Massey tops the coal industry in challenging citations. Last year, Massey contested 34 percent of its alleged violations, compared with the national average of 27 percent that year. Massey is contesting violations valued at $10 million, a total of 11.2 percent of all the contested violations before the commission. While Massey contests these citations, it ignores the safety violations."



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