Monsanto fined for phony accounting – Corporate executives return their bonuses!

roundup
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

When Monsanto agreed to pay regulators $80 million Tuesday for accounting missteps, the giant agribusiness’s chief executive also chipped in: He voluntarily agreed to return his bonus for the years the problems allegedly occurred.

Hugh Grant, who has served as Monsanto’s CEO for more than a decade, will return more $3,165,852 in cash bonuses and stock awards to the company. Carl Casale, the company’s former chief financial officer, will give back $728,843. It is the first time in memory that senior executives voluntarily agreed to return their bonuses in such a case…

Monsanto was accused of booking millions of revenue after launching a rebate program for one of its popular herbicide products, Roundup, but not properly accounting for the cost of the promotion. By 2009, according to the SEC, Monsanto’s Roundup was losing ground to cheaper competitors. It began to offer retailers or distributors rebates in order to encourage them to carry the herbicide despite its higher prices. The program helped boost sales, but when reporting its profits to shareholders, Monsanto did not reflect the cost of the effort, the SEC says.

❝“As a result of the improper accounting, Monsanto met consensus earnings-per-share analyst estimates for fiscal year 2009,” according to the SEC filing on the case.

“This type of conduct … is the latest page from a well-worn playbook of accounting misstatements,” SEC Chair Mary Jo White said in a statement…

Grant, 57, should be able to recoup his losses quickly. Monsanto increased his base pay 6.5 percent last year to $1.6 million. He also received a $1.9 million bonus and is eligible for nearly $10 million in “long-term incentives.”

Same as it ever was.

An internal whistleblower could collect up to $24 million of the $80 million penalty imposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission against agribusiness giant Monsanto…

The SEC said Tuesday that the St. Louis-based company agreed to pay the $80 million penalty and retain an independent compliance consultant to settle charges that it violated accounting rules and misstated company earnings pertaining to its flagship herbicide product Roundup…

The case came to the SEC’s attention as a result of a whistleblower complaint, according to Stuart D. Meissner, whose…firm Meissner Associates represented the unidentified whistleblower. He noted that the SEC’s whistleblower program allows a whistleblower to collect between 10 to 30 percent of the penalty.

The kind of motivation that scares the crap out of corporate giants like Monsanto.

Trump’s quote of the evening

dawn-brain-dead
Click to enlarge

I know Trump has said this before, so technically it’s hardly new. Still, I mean, it’s…it’s…oh hell:

❝I am going to be the greatest jobs president that God ever created. Remember that. Don’t believe those phony numbers when you hear 4.9 percent and 5 percent unemployment. The number’s probably 28, 29, as high as 35. In fact, I even heard recently 42 percent. Do you think if we had 5 percent unemployment, do you really think we’d have these gatherings?

Yeah, Trump “heard” 42 percent recently. You betcha. Trump hears a lot of things, sort of like Joan of Arc. In any case, I assume Trump keeps saying this because it goes over well with his audiences. Why might this be?

Trump fans are really bad at arithmetic.

Trump fans know an ungodly number of unemployed people in their immediate circle of friends.

Trump fans are really eager to believe the government is lying to them.

Trump fans don’t actually know what unemployment is.

Trump fans don’t really have a clue what he’s saying. It’s just mumbo jumbo delivered with authority, and they love it.

I dunno. Could be all of the above, I suppose.

Seems reasonably inclusive.

Big freight railroads miss safety deadline — Aw, shucks


Click to enlarge — Chatsworth collisionIngo Wagner/AFP

Three of the biggest freight railroads operating in the U.S. have told the government they won’t meet a 2018 deadline to start using safety technology intended to prevent accidents like the deadly derailment of an Amtrak train in Philadelphia last May.

Canadian National Railway, CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern say they won’t be ready until 2020…Four commuter railroads — SunRail in Florida, Metra in Illinois, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and Trinity Railway Express in Texas — also say they’ll miss the deadline.

The technology, called positive train control or PTC, relies on GPS, wireless radio and computers to monitor train positions and automatically slow or stop trains that are in danger of colliding, derailing due to excessive speed or about to enter track where crews are working or that is otherwise off limits.

The other four other Class I freight railroads that operate in the U.S. — Union Pacific, BNSF, Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern — and more than a dozen commuter railroads have told the agency they will meet the 2018 deadline…

Amtrak, the nation’s only long-distance passenger carrier, began operating a version of the technology on all tracks that it owns in its Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston and in some other parts of the country in December. But most of Amtrak’s operations outside the Northeast take place on tracks belonging to freight railroads, making it dependent on them to install the technology. Many commuter railroads are in the same position.

After a 2008 collision between a commuter train and a freight train in Chatsworth, California, killed 25 people, Congress passed a law requiring railroads to start using the expensive technology on all tracks that carry passenger trains or that are used to haul liquids that emit toxic gas if spilled.

The deadline for the change was Dec. 31, 2015. But after it became clear nearly all railroads would miss the deadline, Congress passed another law in October extending it to Dec. 31, 2018. That law also permits the government to grant waivers through Dec. 31, 2020…

Anyone surprised?

The oil Patch Boys have known about climate change since the 1980s

Just months after the New York attorney general launched an investigation into oil giant ExxonMobil over allegations that it misled investors about climate change, a newly surfaced report suggests the oil industry’s largest trade group may have had early, detailed knowledge of climate change as well.

In 1982, the American Petroleum Institute commissioned a report from scientists at Columbia University that predicted destructive global warming and linked it to fossil fuel use, according to the nonprofit InsideClimate News, which received a copy of the original report from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

One year after the trade association received the report, API disbanded the task force it had set up to monitor climate change research, according to InsideClimate News. API then launched a multimillion-dollar campaign in the 1990s to persuade the public that the science around climate change was “uncertain…”

The Columbia researchers who prepared the report for API predicted global temperatures would rise by up to 4 degrees Celsius over the next hundred years. A 4-degree increase would likely have devastating effects on the planet, including widespread species loss, increased food insecurity, stronger storms and more severe coastal flooding, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The Columbia report also said the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere “is expected to double some time in the [21st] century. Just when depends on the particular estimate of the level of increasing energy use per year and the mix of carbon based fuels…”

Instead of cleaning up its act, Exxon waged a $16 million campaign in the 1990s to block proposed regulations on greenhouse gas emissions and to persuade the public that climate science was unreliable…It became clear in December that several major oil companies affiliated with API had early knowledge of climate change. The newly surfaced report obtained by InsideClimate News shows that the information about global warming available to members of the trade group was detailed and clearly outlined the risks of emitting large volumes of CO2…

The campaign of political disinformation continues. Even if most of the educated world understands the sum of scientific investigation into climate change there are enough willing dodos committed to being foot soldiers for any conservative cause. Self-interest is limited to a pat on the head from the boss – just as it always has. Care and concern for the planet and life on it – doesn’t raise the least interest among the nutball lobby, some paid, some volunteers. The creeps who pick up the tab are the same corporate executives who have been at it for decades.

We’re just getting a clearer picture is all.