Note at 3:15 p.m. ET, Dec. 8. Since first being published, this post has been edited for style.
There's a clause in the just-released Retirement Agreement for former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship that says he'll get title to a " … 1965 Blue Chevrolet Truck that you previously transferred to the Company."
One of the nation's most vilified ex-CEO's may have made close to $18 million last year alone and is now scheduled to get at least $12 million in cash by July. And, he'll get that Chevy.
The new Retirement Agreement (which you can see here and which we'll add to the bottom of this post) follows last Friday's sudden and unexpected announcement that Blankenship surrendered control of Massey Energy, relinquishing his roles as both CEO and chairman of the board.
Blankenship presided over Massey while it amassed thousands of safety citations, violations and orders, close to $13 million in fines, and the scrutiny of civil and criminal investigators after the explosion in April that killed 29 mine workers at Massey's Upper Big Branch mine.
The $12 million golden parachute and the blue Chevy are just starting points.
There are also the 2010 performance bonuses, which have yet to be determined. They may not amount to much given the impact of the Upper Big Branch explosion on the company's profits. Massey lost money in the last two quarters and there is the potential for more losses stemming from wrongful death suits, increased government regulation and multiple civil and criminal investigations.
Blankenship received a safety bonus last year based on improving the company's rate of work days not lost to accidents. But this year the company admitted it had not reported more than a third of the accidents that are used to calculate that rate.
Still, there could be generous payments from Massey executive plans for deferred compensation, retirement, stock options and profit sharing.
The Retirement Agreement gives Blankenship the opportunity to buy the Massey-owned land surrounding his house. He gets to use a company road to get to his house. He gets two years of medical and dental care coverage. And he gets to continue to use his Massey office and secretary. The office is in a pre-manufactured building just across the West Virginia state line in Belfry, Ky. It's not palatial, but it's where Blankenship has preferred to work for years.
There's also a two-year stint as a consultant for a relatively modest $5,000 a month. The agreement says that's to pay for Blankenship's help with the transition to new leadership and with any litigation.
For all this, Blankenship agrees not to bad-mouth Massey and to avoid, for two years, starting or owning a competing coal company, advising or working for a competitor or luring away Massey employees.
In a statement, Shane Harvey, Massey's vice president and general counsel, says the company sought "an agreement consistent with industry standards." As for the blue Chevy, Harvey says, "The Company will not comment on specific terms of the agreement."
Here's the agreement. Just click "fullscreen" to make it enlarge: