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Roberts comments on Inman "secret conspiracy" charge, Alpha payments to Massey executives

May 25, 2011
For immediate release?: 

“The notion advanced by Massey Energy Chairman Bobby Inman that there is some grand secret ‘conspiracy’ to put Massey out of business is as nutty as the prediction that the world would end last Saturday. No one has needed to do anything extra to find gross violations of safety, environmental and labor laws at Massey operations – the company has demonstrated over and over again that it was fully capable of creating those problems all by itself.

“Now that Mr. Inman stands to get paid $4.9 million from Alpha Natural Resources as part of the outrageous payments Alpha is giving disgraced Massey executives in the companies’ merger, maybe he now can afford to spend a little money visiting mining operations that are actually operated safely and where the working relationship between management and workers is one of respect instead of one of intimidation and contempt.

“I was shocked when I learned of these payments by Alpha to current and former Massey executives. Don Blankenship, who created the safety-last culture of fear and intimidation at Massey, is going to get $86.2 million? Chris Adkins, who was the chief enforcer of Blankenship’s reign of darkness, gets $11 million? Let’s remember, both of them have invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in the Upper Big Branch investigation.  

“I’ve got to ask: What are these payments for? 29 miners are dead at Upper Big Branch. 54 human beings have been killed at various Massey operations and subsidiaries in the last 11 years, the most of any company. Massey continues have the worst safety record of any American coal company. Massey has been assessed tens of millions in fines for environmental violations – under both Democratic and Republican administrations, I might add.  

“Why on earth would anyone want to reward the people who ran Massey for their outlaw   behavior? And why, in the face of all this, would Alpha shareholders agree to allow these payments and the employment of some of these individuals to be part of any merger of the two companies?”

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