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

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.

Girl Scouts turn down $100K from gender bigot

Last May the Girl Scouts took a historic stance for inclusivity and made their long-term policy on accepting transgender girls into their troops official, much to the chagrin of bigots everywhere. Unfortunately, some of those bigots have bank. Fortunately, there are good people in the world too.

An unnamed $100,000 donor sent the Queen Anne offices of the Girl Scouts of Western Washington a note last May asking the chapter to “guarantee that our gift will not be used to support transgender girls. If you can’t, please return the money.”

Council CEO Megan Ferland returned the donation, which would have sent 500 girls to camp and helped the troop meet nearly a quarter of their annual fundraising goal, with a note saying “Girl Scouts is for every girl. And every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to.”

An Indiegogo has now been set up to help raise back the funds returned to the donor.

SeattleMet reports that the Gender Justice League, an organization designed to support Seattle’s transgender community, has offered to help promote the Indiegogo campaign.

$172,690 has so far been donated to the Indiegogo campaign in a single day. The campaign’s stretch goals will go towards helping the estimated 2,000-plus girls who will require financial assistance to participate in Girl Scouts over the next year.

Bravo! An example of real heart, principled courage, rewarding an old organization with the good sense to change with the times – in a progressive direction.

Best new reason for an emergency landing

United Flight 1214, a Boeing 737-800 with 52 passengers, departed for Chicago at 6 a.m. and returned to RDU at 6:40 a.m.

A United Airlines flight to Chicago returned to Raleigh-Durham International Airport shortly after takeoff Wednesday morning, after an altercation broke out between two flight attendants.

“Our law enforcement team was notified by the tower that the captain had requested law enforcement to meet the aircraft,” said Mindy Hamlin, RDU spokeswoman. “The aircraft had gotten about 50 miles out when he reported a possible assault on the aircraft.”

Airport police officers determined that no assault had taken place and no blows were exchanged, Hamlin said. They made no arrests…


The two attendants were removed from the plane and replaced with other employees. The flight continued to Chicago O’Hare after a three-hour delay.

Fly the friendly skies. Right?

Newlywed woman refuses to move in until her hubby installs a toilet

A newlywed woman in a village in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has won her struggle to have a toilet at her husband’s home.

Anita Narre left husband Shivram’s home two days after her marriage in May last year because the house had no toilet. She returned eight days later after Shivram, a daily wage worker, built one with savings and aid from villagers.

An NGO announced a $10,000 reward for Mrs Narre for her “brave” decision and forcing her husband to build a toilet.

More than half-a-billion Indians still lack access to basic sanitation. The problem is acute in rural India and it is the women who suffer most.

Shivram said he was not able to build a toilet at home because of lack of money. He admitted that his wife returned home only after he constructed one with his savings and “some support from the village council”.

“It is not nice for women to go outside to defecate. That’s why every home should have a toilet. Those who don’t should make sure there is one,” Mrs Narre told the BBC.

I’m with you Mrs Narre, Lots of younger folks won’t remember how primitive toilet accommodations can be. Even an outdoors privy can be made usable with care and good design. It’s always worth the effort in terms of health and sanity.

I still remember when my grandparents were building their home on a farm in upstate New York and my parents wouldn’t bring the family up to visit until they had at least built a two-holer out beyond the environs of the house.

And we had a hell of a celebration when they finally installed the indoor crapper. Made winter visits practical.

Sex slave gets ‘groundbreaking’ settlement from UK Home Office

A woman who was a repeated victim of sex trafficking and suffered severe sexual degradation is to be paid substantial damages by the Home Office after it returned her to Moldova, where she faced grave dangers.

The “groundbreaking” settlement was reached on the eve of a high court hearing of her claim against the Home Office for failing to take steps to protect her and for sending her back to Moldova despite substantial grounds to believe she was at risk from her traffickers.

The woman, who cannot be named because she and her family are still at risk of retribution by her traffickers, was kidnapped at the age of 14 and then continually trafficked and re-trafficked for forced prostitution in Italy, Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Israel and Britain until she was 21…

She was arrested by police and immigration officers in a brothel in London in 2003, but instead of rescuing her they charged her with possessing false documents, which had been provided by her traffickers.

She was imprisoned for three months before being sent back to Moldova through a fast-track immigration process. Her trafficker was neither investigated nor arrested but was allowed to visit her in Holloway prison and Oakington detention centre, where he posed as her boyfriend, in order to intimidate her.

Her solicitor, Harriet Wistrich, said the woman was found by her trafficker when she got back to Moldova and was savagely ill-treated before being trafficked back into prostitution for a further two years.

In 2007 she was arrested again in Britain and held at Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre, but was eventually referred to the Poppy project, which identified her as a victim of sex trafficking and provided her with the necessary support to make an asylum claim…

Wistrich said the undisclosed “substantial damages” followed the “groundbreaking” attempt to sue the Home Office for its failure to protect her. She said she hoped immigration authorities would learn from the experience so that other trafficked women would be treated as victims instead of criminals and rescued rather than handed back to their traffickers to be raped and ill-treated.

I don’t believe there is any genetic predilection that forces bureaucrats to behave like an absolute iron-headed ass. Going “by the book” resulting in predictable abusive treatment like this should be halted at the source.

Tsunami dog, Ban, returned to her family

A dog rescued off the Japanese coast floating on top of a house is on her way back to her owner Monday.

The dog wagged its tail and jumped up to a woman described by local media as a relative of the owner as she collected her to deliver back to her family for what promises to be a warm reunion.

It turns out the lucky dog’s name is “Ban,” and she was originally living in Kessenuma before being separated from her master after the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent fire that swept through the coastal village…

An employee at the Miyagi Animal Care Center told CNN by phone that the owner had been staying in a temporary relocation center in Sendai since being evacuated from Kessenuma.

The 50-year-old man reportedly recognized Ban after footage of the brown and black dog was shown being hugged by Japanese rescue workers while being unloaded from a boat in Shiogama Port this past Friday.

Japanese Coast Guard teams had spotted Ban during a helicopter patrol over debris fields nearly two kilometers off shore. When a patrol boat got the hungry and shivering dog, they found no identification on her other than a brown collar.

Best news I’ve read, today.

Regular readers of this blog know how I feel about the importance, positive effects of humans and their companion relationship with other animals. Fortunately – for our species – I think most people feel that way.