Excerpts from The Washington Times
By Jim McElhatton
January 11, 2012
“Now seems an unlikely time for handing out bonuses at bankrupt Solyndra LLC, but that’s the plan of company attorneys intending to dole out up to a half-million dollars to persuade key employees to stay put.
“Nearly two dozen Solyndra employees could receive bonuses ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 each under a proposal filed by Solyndra’s attorneys in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware…
“The biggest bonus, for $50,000, would go to a Solyndra employee whose job title is listed as a senior director with a base salary of $206,499 per year. Two senior managers stand to receive bonuses of $30,000 and $32,500.
“Bankruptcy attorneys said the so-called ‘key employee incentive plan’ aims to keep important personnel from leaving the company.
“Solyndra went broke just two years after winning a more than $500,000,000 federal loan-guarantee package, and one year after President Obama toured its California headquarters and hailed its prospects.
“Most of Solyndra’s employees were laid off last year. The company employed about 1,100 people last year. Just 84 remain. Of those who managed to avoid the mass firings, many have been scrambling to find jobs…
“Three of the employees earn less than $100,000 in base salary, and eight make $150,000 or more. The highest paid employee, eligible for the $50,000 bonus, is paid $206,499 per year…
“Most other former employees, including several top former officials, have claims pending in the company’s bankruptcy case.
“James Gibbons, a Stanford University professor who served on Solyndra’s board of directors, filed a claim for more than $140,000 last month in the bankruptcy, records show…
“Another claim in the case, for $456,000, appears tied to a severance deal for the company’s founder and former chief executive, Chris Gronet. He left the company weeks before its collapse last summer, avoiding the public interrogations that befell two other top company executives who invoked their Fifth Amendment rights and refused to testify at a televised congressional hearing…
“Bankruptcy records show that some Solyndra executives received bonuses of more than $40,000 in the months before the company’s collapse. The San Jose Mercury News…quoted a former employee as saying that retention bonuses were paid to executives because of high turnover.
“In some cases, bankruptcy law allows a trustee or debtor to recoup payments to ‘insiders’ of a company, such as top executives and directors and their family members. The payments had to have been made at a time when the company was insolvent.”
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