BREAKING: Inquirer CEO Tierney Got Bonus Before Bankruptcy
Though the company teetered on the verge of bankruptcy at the time, this past December Philadelphia Media Holdings awarded bonuses to CEO Brian P. Tierney, vice president of finance Richard Thayer and Daily News publisher Mark Frisby.
PMH board chair Bruce Toll confirmed bonuses of $350,000 for Tierney and $150,000 each for Thayer and Frisby in a phone conversation on Friday. Reached by phone, Frisby told Philadelphia, “The numbers are wrong. But I’m not going to give you a number.”
Frisby refused to comment any further.
Tierney did not immediately return phone calls requesting a comment for this story.
Thayer could not be reached by e-mail for a comment.
Toll had first told Philadelphia that no bonuses had been awarded when asked earlier this week, but agreed to look into the matter. Today he said the bonuses had in fact been paid.
“I forgot,” he said. “I’m involved with something like 20 companies, and [when Philadelphia first called] you were asking me to remember what happened in December. But when I asked around, some other board members reminded me we had approved the bonuses.”
PMH filed for bankruptcy in February. Toll, of the homebuilding Toll Brothers company, confirmed that the PMH board knew the company¹s fiscal situation was dire. “The financial condition of the papers was obviously not good,” said Toll. “We knew what was going to happen sooner or later.”
So why give out $650,000 in bonuses? “We thought it was deserved,” he said. “But we can’t get into the details because we’re involved in bankruptcy proceedings.”
It had earlier been revealed that Tierney received a raise in December, just before Christmas, boosting his pay roughly 40 percent to $850,000. The company initially defended the raise, which was revealed in its bankruptcy filing, by saying that Tierney had taken on extra responsibilities since his initial deal had been struck.
Tierney gave up the raise shortly after it was revealed. Frisby and Thayer simultaneously gave back smaller raises. Now comes news of the bonuses, which were awarded just two months after the company’s unions voted to postpone $25-a-week raises for each of its members at the request of PMH.
UPDATE: Saturday morning, Bruce Toll called back and left a voice mail message saying he is not actually sure of the bonus amounts.
Brian Tierney still has not returned phone calls requesting a comment. — Steve Volk
Referencing a remark by Jon Stewart of the state of today seems appropriate. “Where is the outrage? Other countries would be rioting in the streets – but our country sends out emails in “CAPITAL LETTERS.”
A Silent Epidemic
We awake momentarily.
Bored, our eyes close as we drift
back to sleep.
Vulnerable, the devil sharpens the knife’s edge
Creating the United States of Amnesia
Penns Landing, Philadelphia