Adam Wilson expounds on Washington state government, workers and politics. Wilson began covering those issues for the Olympian in 2004. He can be reached at: email@example.com.
State workers' lost pension money, CEO's phat paychecks
I had this long thoughtful post ready on the continuing financial turmoil, but I think I'll let this story stand on its own. Just remember, when Lehman Brothers collapsed last month, it cost the public workers' retirement fund $130 million.
From the Associated Press:
Richard S. Fuld Jr., chief executive officer of Lehman Brothers, declared to the (congressional) committee "I take full responsibility for the decisions that I made and for the actions that I took." He defended his actions as "prudent and appropriate" based on information he had at the time.
"I feel horrible about what happened," he said.
Waxman questioned Fuld on whether it was true he took home some $480 million in compensation since 2000, and asked: "Is that fair?"
Fuld took off his glasses, held them, and looked uncomfortable. He said his compensation was not quite that much.
"We had a compensation committee that spent a tremendous amount of time making sure that the interests of the executives and the employees were aligned with shareholders," he said. Fuld said he took home over $300 million in those years — some $60 million in cash compensation.
Waxman read excerpts from Lehman documents in which a recommendation that top management should forgo bonuses was apparently brushed aside. He also cited a Sept. 11 request to Lehman's compensation board that three executives leaving the company be given $20 million in "special payments."
That request for $20 million in payments to executives came four days before the collapse of the company and subsequent report of a $130 million loss by the State Investment Board. A tiny fraction of the $78 billion fund, but the millions are adding into billions quite a bit lately.