May 14, 2008— -- The chief justice of the supreme court in West Virginia, who vacationed on the French Riviera with a CEO who had millions of dollars' worth of appeals before the court, will no longer be able to consider cases because voters there yesterday denied him the chance to run this fall. Elliott "Spike" Maynard has conceded the race.
Maynard was the subject of an ABC News investigation after photos of him surfaced, showing he vacationed in France and Monaco with the CEO of Massey Energy, Don Blankenship. At the time of the vacation, Blankenship's company had a multi-million-dollar appeal before the court. Maynard voted in favor of Massey following the trip, but the case was reheard after Maynard recused himself when the photos surfaced. Massey again won the case, and the plaintiff is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The plaintiff in that case, Hugh Caperton, said after the vote that the court belongs to the people again. "This is a great victory for all of West Virginia because it shows that we the voters control and own the supreme court," said Caperton. "They work for us, not the other way around."
Maynard insisted nothing improper occurred on the trip, which he and Blankenship took with their girlfriends, and that he paid his own travel expenses, though he never released his full financial records from the trip to the public or to ABC News after repeated requests.
Following his concession, Maynard released a statement thanking the people of West Virginia for allowing him to serve them on the bench for 28 years.