Ex-Governor Freudenthal sold his shares in Arch just before bankruptcy
❝ Arch Coal paid its top executives more than $8 million in bonuses the business day before the company filed for bankruptcy in January, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri filings published last week.
Securities and Exchange Commission records also show that 12 company insiders exercised or converted about 88,000 “phantom stocks”…worth more than $70,000 that same Friday, Jan. 8, 2016.
On the following Monday, Jan. 11, Arch announced it had filed for bankruptcy protection…
❝ The most notable transactions Arch made in the days before filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to court and SEC filings, were payments of $8.12 million in bonuses to seven of its corporate officers, including its CEO, Chief Financial Officer and president…
Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said the bonus payments “could be very likely voided by a bankruptcy court.”
Bankruptcy courts scrutinize a company’s financial transactions and payments made during the 90 days before that firm filed for protection. Hufbauer called the $8.12 million on the eve of bankruptcy “really suspicious…”
❝ Of the 12 insiders named in transactions with phantom stock, 10 were board members and the remaining two were Drexler, the CFO, and Cochran, senior vice president of operations…a form filed Jan. 12 but dated four days before lists David Freudenthal, the former Democratic governor of Wyoming, and shows that 2,757 shares worth $2,288.31 were disposed of.
“It seems strange that you would have such a coincidence,” said Thaya Brook Knight, associate director of financial regulation studies at the Cato Institute, referring to the short window between the Friday transactions and the Monday morning bankruptcy declaration.
❝ Court documents also show Arch made two other payments on the business day before it sought bankruptcy protection.
One was a $12,540 payment to the Algonquin Golf Club in St. Louis, where the firm is headquartered, and the other a $10,680 payment to the Bellerive Country Club, also in St. Louis.
Hey, these captains of industry have to use up some of that free time they now have – since the company they guided through the seas of American commerce has sunk. Playing golf will at least keep them walking around in the fresh air.