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Delta sues Greenbrier over flights to Lewisburg

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A national airline is suing The Greenbrier resort after it says the luxury resort refused to pay $4 million in revenues it owes for flight service to a nearby airport.

Delta Air Lines Inc., which is based in Atlanta, filed the suit Dec. 19 in Atlanta's Fulton County Superior Court against the Justice Family Group doing business as The Greenbrier.

After a request from the Justice Family Group, the lawsuit was moved to federal court last week.

According to the complaint, Delta agreed to provide scheduled air service to the Greenbrier Valley Airport, just north of Lewisburg, from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

Under the agreement between the airline and the luxury resort, The Greenbrier guaranteed that Delta would receive minimum revenues, according to the lawsuit.

The Greenbrier owes the airline a little more than $4 million in minimum revenues that it has refused to pay, the lawsuit states.

Delta wants to draw a $1 million letter of credit from The Greenbrier put in place to secure the hotel's obligations under its agreement with the airline, according to the lawsuit.

The suit seeks damages in excess of $4 million for a breach of contract as well as attorney fees from Justice Family Group.

News of the lawsuit comes on the heels of an announcement last week of layoffs at the resort. More than 100 salaried employees and a number of hourly employees were laid off Friday, owner Jim Justice said.

Justice said he hopes to rehire the "overwhelming majority" of those employees by April 1. He said the employees were laid off in an effort to dig the resort out of a $13 million deficit caused by a slow winter season.

"Everybody entrusts me to run the business, to do my job and my job is to do all of the good I can possibly do," Justice said on Jan. 13. "But at the same time, my job is to get The Greenbrier profitable so that it can sustain longevity forever."

Justice could not immediately be reached for comment Monday afternoon. 

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.


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