Former CEO denies he took millions from bankrupt coal firm
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Former CEO denies he took millions from bankrupt coal firm

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GILLETTE, Wyo. — A former CEO denied he took millions of dollars from a bankrupt Wyoming coal producer, according to court records.

Jeffrey Hoops Sr. says he went to extraordinary personal financial lengths in an attempt to save Blackjewel LLC, The Gillette News Record reported Tuesday.

Lawyers for the company filed a motion Jan. 9 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court asking for extensive discovery of Hoops, his family members and his companies.

Hoops filed a response Tuesday saying he and Clearwater Investment Holdings loaned Blackjewel more than $41 million in the months leading up to its July 1 bankruptcy filing.

Hoops and Clearwater took back about $30 million in payment, although Hoops acknowledged in his response that there is no documentation for the loans and repayment.

Hoops is still owed about $11 million in unpaid loans to the company, his filing said.

He filed claims against the Blackjewel estate for about $29 million through family members or other companies in which he has interests.

Blackjewel wants the bankruptcy court to compel Hoops and others to submit to questioning to help prove its assertion that the bankruptcy was a result of mismanagement.

The company's motion says Hoops and Clearwater received more than $41 million in distributions from Blackjewel in 2019 before the bankruptcy.

The claim is “patently false,” Hoops said, adding that Blackjewel would have gone under more quickly without the assistance he and Clearwater provided.

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