A few high-fliers, as the expression goes, made out like bandits. For instance David Hiller, CEO of the Los Angeles Times before he left the company in July of 2008, got $3,972,558 in a deferred bonus, $2,328,067 for his stock, $2,083,333 in phantom equity, a total of $3,050,523 in excise tax gross ups, and $3,960,000 in executive transition. That comes to nearly $15.4 million. Then again, it's a trifle compared to what Dennis FitzSimons, CEO of the entire company, walked away with -- $28.7 million.
Only if you are afflicted with schadenfreude -- that is, if you yield to the temptation to take pleasure in the troubles of others -- will you be pleased to know that every penny of that $180 million is now in jeopardy. The Tribune Company has been mired in bankruptcy court since December 2008, and earlier this month a faction calling itself the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors filed a series of individual complaints against all 209 managers who shared in that pot. They need to give the money back, the complaints argue: it belongs in the pot of corporate assets that will be divided among the creditors.