Sports Authority Bankruptcy Judge Approves Bonus Plan After All

Image courtesy of Nicholas Eckhart

You may remember the news from earlier this month when the bankruptcy court judge handling the case of defunct retailer Sports Authority denied the company’s request to pay a total of $2.85 million in bonuses to remaining executives. The company proposed a much smaller package for fewer executives, and apparently explained the purpose better this time, since the judge approved the package this time.

In defending the payments, the defunct retailer explained that they are meant as incentives for a few company leaders to stay on and wind down its affairs. They won’t get the money if they accept another job and take off before Sports Authority is finally dead, for example, or if they fail to meet certain performance requirements.

Yet the Denver Post reports that the federal bankruptcy trustee assigned to the case calls the money set aside for executives unfair when the company’s suppliers will probably end up getting shortchanged. The remaining executives will receive bonuses for doing their jobs, pointed out the trustee’s attorney.

There are still a few hundred people working to shut things down at Sports Authority, but only three of them would be eligible for bonuses, with $1.5 million set aside for that purpose. The identities of those executives have been kept sealed, likely for their own safety after the retailer’s demise meant that 14,000 people lost their jobs.

The judge finally agreed with the company about the purpose of the incentive payments: to keep senior managers on the job until the end, when negotiations about the large amounts of money that the company took in during its liquidation sale will take place, and to make sure that they get fair deals that get at least some money back for lenders.

The retailer’s demise was especially difficult for suppliers that sold their merchandise on consignment, and will receive only a small share of the price that these items sold for at going-out-of-business sales.

Sports Authority execs win fight to collect bonuses after bankruptcy [Denver Post]

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