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Patriot Bankruptcy Case To Begin Amid Mine Worker Allegations

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Mine workers from Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia protested in downtown St. Louis Tuesday, urging a bankruptcy court to defend their retiree benefits. Police arrested 10 of them, for blocking traffic. Their union alleges that Peabody Energy dumped those benefits into a spin-off company, Patriot Coal, which is now bankrupt.

Mine workers from Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia protested in downtown St. Louis Tuesday, urging a bankruptcy court to defend their retiree benefits. Police arrested 10 of them, for blocking traffic. Their union alleges that Peabody Energy dumped those benefits into a spin-off company, Patriot Coal, which is now bankrupt.

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The Patriot Coal bankruptcy case is scheduled for a hearing Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Louis.

Ahead of the action, United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts was asked if his side has any “smoking gun” evidence to prove his claim that Peabody Energy created Patriot Coal to fail so that it could then be absolved of its contracts with union miners.

“None of the depositions have happened yet so when people who were party to this entire spinoff at Peabody have to hold their right hand up, they have to tell the truth, that hasn’t happened yet. So we don’t know who we have,” Roberts said.

“We believe, based on the conversations which took place at the time of the spinoff, that people knew that the liabilities far exceeded the assets,” he added.

Peabody Energy has denied it created Patriot Coal to fail, claiming the company had a “dream team” of management that ran into rough times when coal prices fell. Peabody spokesman Vic Svec said the bankruptcy case will show it was a profitable company taken down by market forces in the coal industry.

United Mine Workers members plan a protest downtown to accompany the bankruptcy hearing. The protest will be the third time this year workers have gathered in downtown St. Louis.

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