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Contest: worst footnote of the year
December 30, 2009 1:00 PM   Subscribe

Footnoted.org, a blog devoted to pointing out those buried atrocities in SEC filings, is having its annual worst footnote of the year contest. contenders include Chesapeake Energy disclosing it spent $12.1 million to purchase Aubrey McClendon's antique map collection, Martha Stewart's $3 million retention payment to remain at Martha Stewart Omnimedia and InfoGroup disclosing it really spent $852K on former CEO Gupta's yacht instead of zero. Polls close tomorrow.
posted by krautland (24 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Man, I just wish someone could prove Martha Stewart knew about Martha Stewart's $3 million retention payment a head of time and she dumped stock because of this.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:06 PM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm wondering where martha stewart would go instead of staying with martha stewart?
posted by krautland at 1:12 PM on December 30, 2009


Martha Stewart Gargantu-media is making a play for her.
posted by Babblesort at 1:16 PM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I just learned what a "gross-up" is. It must be nice to be able to say "not only are you going to pay me 3.9 million bucks, you're gonna pay my taxes on it too" and not get laughed at/punched in the face/run out of town on a rail.
posted by ghharr at 1:27 PM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


From "Other Interests" on Aubrey's Wikipedia page:

McClendon is the chairman of the board for American Clean Skies Foundation, a non-profit foundation that educates the public on clean energy sources.

Since 2000 McClendon has donated $678,050.00 to a variety of Republican candidates and conservative interest groups. Most notable of these was a $250,000 donation to Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, a group whose purpose was opposing John Kerry's candidacy for the presidency in 2004. His donation made him the eighth largest contributor to the group.

In 2007 McClendon bought several full-page ads supporting the Duke men's lacrosse team in the 2006 Duke University lacrosse case.

posted by anniecat at 1:32 PM on December 30, 2009


It must be nice to be able to say "not only are you going to pay me 3.9 million bucks, you're gonna pay my taxes on it too" and not get laughed at/punched in the face/run out of town on a rail.

Then again, imagine how nice it would be to actually be paid what your salary purports to be.
posted by The World Famous at 1:35 PM on December 30, 2009


From the SEC amended proxy on the maps:

Our employees and visitors appreciate the maps’ depiction of the early years of the nation’s energy industry and the discovery and expansion of Indian Territory (now, Oklahoma) and the surrounding territories of the early United States. In addition, the collection connects to our Company’s everyday use of mapping in our business of exploring for and developing natural gas and oil.

This is what they're using for drilling research. Maps of "Indian Territory." Swell.
posted by anniecat at 1:40 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Shit! And there was I thinking that I might get the Martha Stewart gig.
posted by ob at 1:48 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Imagine how much suffering in the world could be alleviated by just one million of those millions of dollars. Boggles the fucking mind.
posted by Jon_Evil at 1:50 PM on December 30, 2009


McClendon is the chairman of the board for American Clean Skies Foundation, a non-profit foundation that educates the public on clean energy sources.

Gosh, something tells me the ACSF is headquartered on Bizarro Earth, and does the opposite of what it claims.
posted by graventy at 1:50 PM on December 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Gosh, something tells me the ACSF is headquartered on Bizarro Earth, and does the opposite of what it claims.

It comes from the same Repug tradition of "naming your group after what you want to destroy" - like the 'Clean Air Act' that got rid of all the restrictions on how much pollution can be put out by various industries, or the "Defense of Marriage" act that is actually about fighting love and preventing marriages. See also: anything with the word 'Family' in it is generally about fighting to prevent certain people from having recognized family structures, and anything with the word 'Freedom' is probably there to restrict your rights.
posted by FatherDagon at 2:02 PM on December 30, 2009 [17 favorites]


See also: People's Republic of China, German Democratic Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
posted by kmz at 2:04 PM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Chesapeake Energy, BTW, have also been huge assholes with trying to force urban drilling in Fort Worth.
posted by kmz at 2:25 PM on December 30, 2009


>Shit! And there was I thinking that I might get the Martha Stewart gig

No offense, ob, but if we get to choose a MeFite to replace Martha Stewart, I nominate orange swan. ;-)
posted by mosk at 2:31 PM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Come the revolution, already.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:02 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Imagine how much suffering in the world could be alleviated by just one million of those millions of dollars.

I know, I'd never have to work again.
posted by quin at 3:08 PM on December 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


I know, I'd never have to work again.
I applaud your frugality. I'd have the six to eight days of my life.
posted by krautland at 3:25 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is it too soon for a David Foster Wallace joke?
posted by Flashman at 3:39 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


God's work! Well done. Anything like this for the tax code?
posted by IndigoJones at 3:54 PM on December 30, 2009


The Chesapeake letter is awesome, especially with regards to paying the CEO $12.1 MILLION FUCKING DOLLARS for his maps collection, which had been on display at their campus:
Anyone who has visited or driven by our corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City knows that is comprised of numerous buildings in a campus-type setting. These maps complement the interior design features of our campus buildings and contribute to our workplace culture. Our employees and visitors appreciate the maps’ depiction of the early years of the nation’s energy industry and the discovery and expansion of Indian Territory (now, Oklahoma) and the surrounding territories of the early United States.

In addition, the collection connects to our Company’s everyday use of mapping in our business of exploring for and developing natural gas and oil. The Company was interested in continuing to have use of the map collection permanently and believed it was not appropriate to continue to rely on cost-free loans of artwork from Aubrey. The Board of Directors authorized the purchase of Aubrey’s collection following review and approval by the Audit Committee and required that the Company’s purchase price be applied as a credit to Aubrey’s future FWPP costs. Future purchases, if any, of historical maps or artwork for the Company’s headquarters will be made directly by the Company.
I gotta think each of the 4,600 employees would've probably just preferred a $2,600 check as a bonus, instead of the knowledge that they're surrounded by old maps. Maybe I'm wrong.
posted by disillusioned at 3:57 PM on December 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


Imagine how much suffering in the world could be alleviated by just one million of those millions of dollars.

People are always so willing to give other people's money to charity.
posted by smackfu at 6:58 PM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


the Company’s purchase price be applied as a credit to Aubrey’s future FWPP costs

It doesn't look like he's actually getting paid in cash, though. Instead, it's like Steve Jobs getting a bonus in iTunes gift cards; it's only usable for payment of maintenance expenses incurred against company oil wells that he owns part-interests in (FWPP = "Founder Wells Partnership Program", apparently). That means the cost to the company due to amortization is possibly much lower than $12.1M. He gets the opportunity to cash out in 2014, but not before.

Why they decided to do it that way rather than just agree on some lower cash price for the collection I'm not sure. It strikes me as possible that they're using the transfer of the collection as cover for basically hand-waving away future maintenance expenses (maybe to simplify accounting), or for some other less obvious reason.

But, given that the company owns the majority share of the wells and is going to perform the maintenance anyway, the immediate out-of-pocket cost is $0. So it's not exactly carving into anybody's Christmas bonus.

Still shifty, though.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:25 PM on December 30, 2009


Freddie Mac, which took more than $50 billion in money from the government to stay afloat, giving its new CFO a $1.95 million signing bonus in addition to other goodies.

It's funny how the outrage over this sort of thing actually drives up the price Freddie (and other government-supported zombies) needs to pay to attract executives.

Why would an outsider with a good reputation take the risk of signing off on Freddie's financial results? It's a horribly complex mess and a political albatross. And it's still a key player in propping up the mortgage market with trillions of dollars of obligations held by all sorts of central banks in addition to many US citizens' 401ks.

Plus the job comes with the additional perk of being hated by everyone.

Oh, and the last Freddie CFO committed suicide.
posted by mullacc at 8:47 PM on December 30, 2009


While none of these are cool with any reasoned, long view towards how economies or the world itself should work, I have to say:

1. Perot just asked for something ridiculous and got it. Hard to fault him for playing the game well.
2. $1.95 Million is a drop in a bucket compared to the $50 Billion they're talking about, and Freddie Mac needs to work. It's excessive, but that kind of signing bonus isn't necessarily crazy or unexpected to me.
3. I don't really get the yacht thing, it seems shady, but it's also small potatoes, money-wise, compared to the rest of these.
4. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is a publicly traded company that depends primarily on one woman at it's center remaining at it's center. They need Martha Stewart more than Martha Stewart needs them, in other words. If it weren't for the name, it'd be very similar to Apple's retention bonus for Steve Jobs, or Virgin's for Richard Branson, in other words.

So my vote's for the maps. That's just shifty no matter which way you cut it.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:10 PM on December 30, 2009


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