- December 2004, Coal company court case controversy arises following millions to unseat judge: Lawyers on both sides of a massive class-action lawsuit against coal, timber and other extractive industries have asked two of the West Virginia Supreme Court’s five justices to step away from the case because of their feelings about Blankenship and Massey Energy.
- January 2005, Watchdog group says Massey helped fund ad critical of major W.Va. candidates: A political action committee’s campaign ads critical of state Attorney General Darrell McGraw and his brother, state Supreme Court Justice Warren McGraw were funded by Blankenship. Darrell McGraw won, and Warren McGraw lost.
- May 2005, Massey Energy subject of third lawsuit over delayed coal shipments: Peabody Coaltrade LLC, is the third company to sue Massey over coal supply issues. Blankenship labor shortages and transportation problems contributed to supply issues.
- November 2005, Energy mogul claims stake in West Virginia's future from a Kentucky office: Blankenship says he possesses a perspective of "living in the middle" of the Central Appalachian coalfields, mining mainly in West Virginia for a Virginia-based company, all while working from an office in Belfry, Ky., near the state's eastern tip.
- January 2006, Miners dead; pols pledge fight for new laws; some put more faith in media: Two months after the explosion at Sago Mine, which killed 12 miners, a conveyor belt caught fire deep inside a Massey mine and killed two miners.
- May 2006, Coal baron's maid fights for unemployment pay: Blankenship's former maid, Deborah May, worked for Blankenship for $8.86 an hour, after one 30-cent raise, for four years. She quit in November because of stress and poor treatment, she says.
- September 2006, Coal industry to revisit Sago, discuss mine safety at W.Va. symposium: Blankenship attends a safety symposium in Bluefield, after the Sago Mine disaster.
- November 2006, Coal executive spending big to gain Republican majority in West Virginia: After vowing to do "whatever it takes" to gain a Republican majority in the West Virginia legislature, Blankenship spent millions on political advertising.
- November 2006, Coal mogul fails to achieve goal of GOP legislature in West Virginia: Voters on kept Democrats in charge of West Virginia’s Legislature, largely ignoring Blankenship’s multimillion-dollar campaign to sweep Republicans into office.
- January 2007, Massey, biggest coal producer in Appalachia, stakes a claim in Illinois Basin: Massey Energy will open a new mine in the Illinois Basin -- in Western Kentucky's McLean and Daviess counties, southwest of Owensboro on the Green River. Blankenship cites potential for growth of the company.
- June 2007, Hedge-fund managers quit Massey Energy board, blast chief executive: Managers of the Third Point hedge fund quit the board of Massey Energy Co. yesterday, saying other directors had "a misguided insistence on keeping" Blankenship as the company's chief executive.
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Massey boss Blankenship gets profiled big time, but we've been following him for a while
Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship has been very much in the news since Tuesday's explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County, W.Va., but this isn't his first experience with national news media. Blankenship is "a man who has cultivated a larger-than-life reputation over the years as a fearless and combative businessman," Ian Urbina and John Leland of The New York Times write. David Montgomery and Dan Zak of The Washington Post add, "Now, at 60, Blankenship, a millionaire who grew up poor in coal country, is facing perhaps the greatest challenge of his career. As he directs his company's response to the tragedy at the Upper Big Branch mine, his pugnacious profile seems to have softened a bit."
Previous coverage on the Rural Blog of Don Blankenship