Don Blankenship, the former CEO of Massey Energy, aka coal in WVa, has a Nixon problem. Turns out the Don recorded his phone calls and now the prosecutors have them. How they have them is one of those stories.
When Blankenship was under pressure, he sold Massey off to Alpha National Resources with the understanding that Alpha would cover his legal expenses, and, of course, he has them, being under indictment for evasion of mine safety and financial reporting requirements.
The Charleston Gazette reports that when Alpha got into Blankenship's office they found a telephone recording setup and a pile of tapes. The listened to the tapes. They blanched. They turned the tapes over to prosecutors.
Now this was not a totally disinterested act of public responsibility. After all Alpha mines coal, but as they now say, since Blankenship was actually doing the things that he is charged with they have no responsibility to pay for his defense.
Blankenship was infamous for forcing his mine workers to run coal at all costs and obstructing the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and their inspectors, again at all costs, and he knew what he was doing
“Sometimes I’m torn with what I see about the craziness we do,” Blankenship told then-Massey chief operating officer Chris Adkins in November 2009. “Maybe if it weren’t for MSHA, we’d blow ourselves up.”
Blankenship said, “I know MSHA is bad, but ... I tell you what ... we do some dumb things. I don’t know what we’d do if we didn’t have them.”Coal mining is dirty