Bonuses Would Total Up To $43 Million

WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS) – The Tribune Company is asking a Delaware bankruptcy judge to approve up to $43 million in bonuses for top executives and managers this year.

The plan calls for some 640 people to receive bonuses totaling from $16.5 million to $42.9 million if certain cash flow targets are met. The request will be the subject of a hearing Wednesday.

Tribune scaled back the incentive plan this summer after complaints from creditors and an employees union.

The company also agreed this week to require repayment of bonuses given executives found to have breached their fiduciary duties or engaged in wrongdoing related to Tribune’s 2007 leveraged buyout.

An independent examiner found that five members of Tribune’s current management may have been involved in such wrongdoing.

Tribune Co., which owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and more than 20 TV and radio stations, filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2008, a year after a much-publicized buyout from real estate mogul Sam Zell, because the company wasn’t generating enough revenue to repay more than $13 billion in debt.

An independent investigator concluded this summer that some aspects of the deal to take the Tribune Company private had bordered on fraud.

Company chief executive officer Randy Michaels resigned last month, amid allegations in a front-page New York Times article that he and his colleagues turned the Tribune Co. into a raunchy fraternity house environment characterized by frequent “use of sexual innuendo, poisonous workplace banter and profane invective.”

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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