Coal Tattoo

Calling the Massey Energy Board of Directors…


Retired Air Force Gen. Robert “Doc” Foglesong is helping young West Virginians to become the leaders of tomorrow. His foundation received money from President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. Gazette photo by Chip Ellis.

We had a feature story in the Gazette today about the foundation run by West Virginia native Robert H. “Doc” Foglesong, and the fact that it has received some money from President Obama’s Nobel Prize winnings.

Some readers may not have realized that Foglesong is member of the Board of Directors that is supposed to be ultimately in charge of Massey Energy. Other members include:

— CEO and Board Chairman Don Blankenship

— Former James River Coal Co. CEO James B. Crawford

Richard M. Gabrys, a retired chairman of the Deloitte & Touche accounting firm

Bobby R. Inmann, a former National Security Agency and CIA official

Lady Judge, a former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissioner

Dan R. Moore, a Southern West Virginia auto dealer

Baxter Phillips, the president of Massey

Stanley Suboleski, a former Massey official who also served a term of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Review Commission

My coworker Eric Eyre has tried to contact a few of the board members to ask for their comments about the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster and about Massey’s troubled safety record. So far, Eric tells me, none of returned his calls or e-mails.

Coal Tattoo readers will recall that Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee (a former West Virginia University President) resigned his spot on the Massey board last year amid protests from students on his campus about his ties to the controversial company.

As we reported yesterday, one of Massey’s institutional shareholders, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli has called for Blankenship to immediately resign as CEO.

Another call for Blankenship’s resignation also came from CtW Investment Group, a union pension fund organization, which said:

Under Chairman and CEO Blankenship’s domineering leadership, Massey Energy placed short-term production and profit goals ahead of prudent risk management, with devastating consequences for the corporation, its shareholders and employees. In light of these consequences, the urgent need for new leadership is apparent.

Any Massey board members who would like to step up and say something about all of this can feel free to send me an e-mail message.