With so much argument about the Employee Free Choice Act going on these days, it seems the whole country is dividing up between Union lovers and Union haters. Union lovers see organized labor as the only thing standing between the middle class and mass poverty. And as Unions shrink in size, so does the American Dream. We may be the last generation in a long line of generations where the kids had a higher standard of living than their parents. Our children will hard pressed to get better jobs and benefits than we have. Even the good Union jobs are taking a few steps backwards these days in wages and benefits.
As the automakers stumble and fall, the Union haters are quick to point out that it was the Unions that did them in. “High wages and benefits (the backbone of the middle class) forced the companies into bankruptcy”, they howl, “It was the damn Unions.” These same people who seem to loathe the middle class never point their fingers at greedy corporations. They never accuse the carnivorous CEOs of breaking the back of a once successful company. All they can see are those Damn Unions.
Well here is a Damn CEO story. You may have seen it on Yahoo. “Judge orders Scrushy to pay $2.9B to shareholders.” Yes, his name is really Scrushy! Richard Scrushy, the former head of HealthSouth.
After reading the following description of Scrushy’s activities and using the same thinking that the Union bashers use, I think we can assume that it is management that’s ruining America. Upper management thugs are masterminding it and their low-level goons are carrying out the destruction. Shouldn’t we treat them with the same repulsion that they have for us.
Circuit Judge Allwin E. Horn, who heard the case in Birmingham without a jury, ruled in favor of HealthSouth shareholders who filed a lawsuit claiming Scrushy was involved in years of overstating the company’s earnings and assets to make it appear the company was meeting Wall Street forecasts.
Horn wrote in his ruling that Scrushy “knew of and participated in” the faked reports filed with regulators from 1996 to 2002. He said the HealthSouth founder also “consciously and willfully” violated his financial responsibilities as CEO.
During the lawsuit trial, an attorney for shareholders, John W. Haley repeatedly confronted Scrushy over what Haley described as obvious conflicts of interest. Among them was HealthSouth’s purchase of 19 acres of land next to Scrushy’s suburban Birmingham estate for $1.9 million, then giving him the land three years later. Scrushy said he got the land instead of a bonus one year.
Haley, sounding incredulous, recounted how Scrushy took an $82 investment in a company that purchased property at a discount from HealthSouth and turned it into a personal profit of about $12 million in four years by leasing the property back to the corporation.
“That’s the way it works in America,” Scrushy said.
Haley, said Scrushy was “a man of substantial means” who earned more than $226 million from the time the fraud began until he left the company in 2005. The fraud cost the company $1.8 billion.