Letters to the Editor

Published 5:26 pm Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Dear Editor:

What do Whitey Bulger, John Gotti, Al Capone and Jeff Hoops have in common? They are all crime families. Jeff Hoops, the former CEO of Blackjewel/Revelation Coal has proven to be a modern-day crime family in the coal business. He has robbed thousands of innocent victims.

What is organized crime and white-collar crime? Organized crime is defined as an enterprise set up to engage in illegal activities, such as theft, fraud and robbery, to name a few. Bankruptcy fraud is a white-collar crime which involves hiding assets, concealing or destroying documents, false statements, conflicts of interest, etc.

Aren’t these things that Hoops has done to innocent Harlan Countians?

He did not pay the miners for their work, he took coal from property owners and did not pay for it, he did not pay taxes he owed on minerals mined and he did not pay vendors for supplies. He moved his assets around, he mined under different names and he knowingly took coal with no intention of paying landowners.

This seems like the very definition of organized crime. His crimes had a devastating impact on our economy in Harlan County. Thankfully, our county rallied behind our hard working miners to help them through the impact of Hoops’ crimes.

How has he gotten by with his crimes? Does he have connections to prominent officials? Why yes, he does. His brother-in-law is the West Virginia Governor. Is that one reason his crimes are overlooked? I have no idea if he is involved, but doesn’t it seem suspicious that no one is pursuing Hoops for his crimes? Are people afraid of the connections that Hoops has with important people? No one wants to bring out the bad things going on in the coal industry? Are people afraid that it means we are against coal and our hard working miners?

That is far from the case. I am writing this because I support our hard working miners.

Does Hoops have connections with other government officials? I have no proof of that, but maybe we can follow the money trail. Why isn’t anyone pursuing Hoops? Why is he getting by with hiding behind bankruptcy? Where is Jeff Hoops? What is he doing right now? Is he building a multi-million dollar resort in West Virginia?

According to the Herald Dispatch, a newspaper in West Virginia, Hoops and his wife, along with Clearwater Trust have been involved with the multi-million dollar resort being built, which is scheduled to open summer of 2020. The Herald Dispatch also states that none of the funds came from BlackJewel.

Do we really know that to be true? Did he move funds and assets around before filing for bankruptcy?

The resort consist of plans to include a wedding chapel, convention center, a 4,000-square-foot spa, an indoor swimming pool, baseball fields and a golf course. In addition, the plan for the site proposed in early 2018 includes a retirement facility, an amphitheater, resort villas, condo units and lots for single-family living.

Has Hoops donated to big campaigns? I have no idea, but I would like to know.

Does he live in a mansion? Does he own his own helicopter and use it to fly all over the world? There is nothing wrong with being wealthy if you earn it legally and do not obtain it at the expense of others.

Did he suffer at all while the miners were sleeping on the tracks? Did he have any regret or sympathy? Did he donate any of his personal millions to help the miners he put out of work?

If anyone has answers to my questions, please inform me and the citizens of Harlan County that have been robbed by Hoops.

Sincerely,

Ann Estes

Harlan, KY