June 4th, 2009
11:24 PM ET

$20 million in bonuses for Chrysler execs?

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.

Filed under: 360° Radar • auto bailout • Joe Johns • Justine Redman
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Darin

    These people are already rich, and now $20 million more dollars in BONUSES? Bonuses for what exactly? Bankrupting a company? Their greed is deplorable. It truly disgusts me that these companies reward bad behavior, while the working and poor classes are suffering the most. What a kick in the teeth.

    June 5, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  2. Melissa

    Even with all the problems about the billions of dollars in bonus' that came earlier this year, the companies still aren't getting it. They disgust me.

    June 5, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  3. Gail Ellis Duncan

    When will we learn? When will this stop? Come on people...Bonuses?

    June 5, 2009 at 2:19 am |
  4. Larry

    How can these execs expect bonuses like this when Chrysler customers who have been burned or maimed by a faulty vehicle are shut out–by the deal Chrysler made with Fiat and the Treasury?

    June 4, 2009 at 11:40 pm |
  5. Ron Peoria, Il

    I am stymied by people who fail on the job and reap such rewards.

    This is not capitalism, it is vandalism. These people should be fired, not rewarded.

    June 4, 2009 at 11:38 pm |
  6. Philoan Tran - Houston

    If US bankruptcy court allows for $20 M in bonuses to Chrysler's top employees when the federal judge allows for annulment of dealerships' contracts and throws out lawsuits by victims on defective products, then the entire legal system is also screwed up as well. Corruption in corporate America!

    June 4, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  7. Deb

    Can't teach those old dogs anything new. They will fight change to the bitter end.

    Meanwhile, how many dealerships are gonna go belly up because of this re-org? This bonus thing is just more fuel for their lawsuits.

    June 4, 2009 at 9:13 pm |
  8. Liza Naipaul

    That sucks that they get bonuses. The middle class has to work so hard to get this country back on its feet.

    June 4, 2009 at 9:03 pm |
  9. Ida

    that would be bad if they get bonus out of this

    June 4, 2009 at 9:00 pm |
  10. Annie Kate

    As much fuss about bonuses as there has been already I can't believe Chrysler would try to pay people bonuses too – what does it take for these companies to learn? Do they think they are exempt from the same criticism the other companies have suffered over bonuses or do they just not care?

    June 4, 2009 at 8:55 pm |
  11. Terry, TX

    What's the problem....Fannie Mae and Freddie...they got bonuses in March....after the bogus distraction of AIG in February....and they got more govt bailout than Chrysler and GM. Hello.

    Senator McCaskill...what is her party affiliation....probably democrat... because you usually just list them if they are republicans.

    June 4, 2009 at 8:42 pm |