Ex-Enron executives seek millions in severance
Several former Enron Corp insiders who earned a combined US$25 million in the year before the company crashed are asking for millions more in severance pay. The list of executives includes Rebecca Carter, the wife of former chief executive Jeff Skilling, and former vice chairman Mark Frevert, who has asked for more than US$6 million in severance pay. Carter, who was Enron's corporate secretary before marrying Skilling in March, wants another US$875,000. The executives are among 46 who opted not to participate in a settlement that would provide at best US$13,500 in severance to each of the workers laid off as a result of Enron's bankruptcy. The Houston-based energy merchant said in a court filing that it has paid US$32 million in severance thus far. US Bankruptcy Judge Arthur Gonzalez said he would decide by the end of the month whether those who opted out of the severance deal are entitled to anything, and if so, how much. If Gonzalez rules the insiders are entitled to more than they would have been paid under the deal, those who have agreed to it can back out and send the process back to the drawing board. Frevert, who was made vice chairman after Skilling's sudden departure last year, was paid US$17.3 million in the year before Enron crashed. He claims that he is owed US$6.6 million in severance, a calculation that was based in part on his performance bonus. The bankruptcy creditor's committee and Enron both said they needed more time to investigate Frevert's claim. Frevert's "employment and termination package was substantially increased shortly before the filing". Carter was paid US$477,500 in the year before the crash. John Sherriff, the former head of Enron Europe, received US$4.3 million in the same period and has asked for US$1.6 million more. Kenneth Dodson, a former executive in Enron's engineering division, has asked for US$210,000 on top of the US$319,000 he was paid last year. Charles Garland was paid US$1.6 million last year as a managing director at Enron, and wants US$892,000 in severance. The executives' employment contracts were nullified on the day Enron filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on December 2, 2001.