2009’s Worst Disclosures Buried in Footnotes

Around this time each year, my friend Michelle Leder at footnoted tries to come up with the worst SEC disclosures of the past 4 quarters.

She asks her readers to cast their votes and this year, and that tradition continues: She is asking her readers to vote on the stinkiest disclosures of 2009.

Despite –or perhaps because — the economy was (shall we call it) “soft,” there was plenty of material to choose from; So much so that it was actually difficult to winnow down the list to just five. But here’s what Michelle came up with (with the links to the actual posts):

  1. Martha Stewart getting a $3 million retention payment for remaining at Martha Stewart Omnimedia (MSO).
  2. Chesapeake Energy disclosing it spent $12.1 million to purchase Aubrey McClendon’s antique map collection.
  3. InfoGroup saying the cost of the yacht for former CEO Vinod Gupta was really $873,078 instead of the zero that it had previously reported.
  4. Freddie Mac, which took more than $50 billion in money from the government to stay afloat, giving its new CFO a $1.95 million signing bonus in addition to other goodies.
  5. Ross Perot Jr. asking for — and getting — a $1.1 million tax gross up after collecting over $950 million by selling Perot Systems to Dell.

You can cast your vote for the worst footnote here. Voting will remain open through Dec. 30 and the results will get posted on Dec. 31.

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