Justine Redman and Joe Johns
AC360º Producer and Correspondent
Grilled at a Senate hearing Wednesday, the President of Chrysler couldn't answer a question about whether 15 Chrysler employees stand to get $20 million in bonuses. Keeping them honest, we want to know the answer too. Please send us your confidential tips to AC360KTH@CNN.com
Here is an excerpt from a Senate committee hearing yesterday on GM and Chrysler plans to close dealerships, and how to protect dealers and consumers:
SENATOR MCCASKILL: This is a difficult question, Mr. Press, but I looked and I have - we've gotten some information that came to us back channel about the DIP budget, and this is the debtor in possession budget in the bankruptcy. And it talks about the budget for the old company. And what troubles me in there, there's an acknowledgement that there may be up to 15 employees of old Chrysler working on this bankruptcy and there is a pool in this budget of up to $20 million for bonuses.
I can't imagine what kind of kick in the gut that would be if we were to learn in the next two weeks that some of the old Chrysler folks - which are getting paid their salaries, which they should, you guys are doing hard work.
But if there's $20 million in bonuses for as few as three to five people that are associated with old Chrysler, I think that would be a huge - I mean, I think the pitchforks would come out and I think there would be a real problem.
And I want - I know I asked you about this yesterday. Have you learned anything more about that and can you shed any light on that?
JAMES PRESS, CHRYSLER PRESIDENT: No, Senator. I did make an inquiry. We were not able to find testimony. I can only speculate and I think that would be inappropriate at this time. And I will do my best to see if we can find out concretely what that information is relating to.
SENATOR MCCASKILL: Well, I misspoke yesterday. It wasn't in testimony, but it is in a preliminary DIP budget, debtor in possession budget, that has been circulated and has been talked about and I believe your CFO has referred to it in various meetings. So I think we need to get to the bottom of that and sooner rather than later. I know everything is on a fast track here, but that needs to be, also.
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