"A couple of years ago, a subsidiary of Massey Energy, which owns a sprawling mine operation behind and above the Richmond home, bought up Lindytown," columnist Dan Barry of The New York Times writes. "Many of its residents signed Massey-proffered documents in which they also agreed not to sue, testify against, seek inspection of or ''make adverse comment' about coal-mining operations in the vicinity."
Quinne's husband Lawrence, who died recently, said he chose to stay because he feared moving would upset his wife, who has Alzheimer's. Instead, Lawrence and his son Roger signed easements granting Massey certain rights over their properties for $25,000 each and a promise they would not make adverse comments against the company. Roger now describes that deal as "hush money." Massey says Lindytown residents contacted the company about buying their property and "the entire mine plan could have been legally mined without the purchase of these homes."
James Smith, a former Lindytown resident, says many residents only wanted to move because of the mountaintop mining operation above them. "You might as well take the money and get rid of your torment," he told Barry, adding that he received more than $300,000 for his property. "After they destroyed our place, they done us a favor and bought it." Roger Richmond noted "Some of them were tired of fighting it. Of having to put up with all the dust. Plus, you couldn’t get out into the hills the way you used to." (Read more)