Philadelphia Energy Solutions paid out about
Most of the payments were made on
"It's repulsive that they did that," said
The payments were disclosed in financial documents filed Friday with the court. Representatives of the refinery and its lawyer could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. The bonuses were first reported by Reuters.
Retention bonuses are sometimes awarded to incentivize employees to remain at a troubled company during bankruptcy proceedings, when it is difficult to recruit new talent to work at a company that may be sold, or closed.
But paying retention bonuses before a bankruptcy filing is a "little trickier," said
"Key employee retention bonuses are not that uncommon in bankruptcy, but it is uncommon to pay them before bankruptcy knowing that you're going to go into bankruptcy," Lipson said. Such bonuses might be challenged by a committee of unsecured creditors, or by a bankruptcy trustee if one is appointed.
The retention bonuses paid by PES were not included in a formal plan submitted to the court, but listed without comment in a 204-page financial report submitted to the court.
The executives also received payments for unused vacation time ranging from
The refinery also paid "spot bonuses" of
"While the refinery was still on fire, they're not thinking about starting the refinery right then, they're already thinking about shutting it down, that's what it's telling me," said O'Callaghan, who was among the more than 500 unionized workers who lost their jobs.
Rather than paying severance bonuses to unionized workers, PES in August agreed to set up a "transition fund" of
The company's board of directors did not receive bonuses, but the company also made a
The complex, which is actually two historically separate refineries that were merged under the common ownership of
The company announced last month it has launched a "structured process" to solicit interest in acquiring some or all of the refinery assets. PES has retained
Several potential bidders, including retired PES Chief Executive
"At this time, it is far too early in the strategic process for PES or others to be making any public statements regarding the future direction of PES and the refinery complex," the company said.
(c)2019 The Philadelphia Inquirer
Visit The Philadelphia Inquirer at www.inquirer.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.