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Don Blankenship’s Coal-Dust Covered Golden Parachute

Corporate Golden Parachute, from Essg on Flickr

Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship announced his retirement rather suddenly earlier this month, much to the pleasure of environmental activists in West Virginia.  Though the realist in me believes his successor will be a carbon-copy of him, I’m grateful nonetheless that this truly despicable man is out of the head spot at Massey.

But Blankenship isn’t leaving empty-handed.  His astronomical retirement package, which ABC News coins a golden parachute, sets him up nicely with a house to live in (paid for by the company of course) for the rest of his life, fruitful stock options, and roughly $18,000/month for the next 10 years of his life.

The full breadth of Blankenship’s retirement package is still not known, but the web site Footnoted.com laid out some of the terms in an item posted this morning, including what it says is a $5.7 million pension, generous stock options, and $27.2 million from a deferred-compensation account, “a combination of pay he set aside and interest Massey has promised to pay him on those sums.” The web site also noted that the free housing Blankenship has enjoyed during his tenure as CEO will continue into his retirement, as will the company’s agreement to handle any income taxes he would owe for getting use of the house.

All this comes after a tenure which saw the controversial coal boss receive $38.2 million total compensation in the last three years alone, $26.7 million of it in cash, Footnoted reports.

Massey Energy officials declined to comment directly on the terms of Blankenship’s retirement. But the press release issued by the company notes that the coal mining giant has done very well under Blankenship’s tenure.

[Source: ABC News]

Blankenship leaves the company amidst a disastrous mine explosion that occurred last April, the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster.  The explosion killed nearly 30 miners, and Mr. Blankenship is refusing to testify in front of MSHA investigators over the causes of the accident.  Guilty conscience much?  Surely we’d have to believe so.  Blankenship has caused a boatload of controversy and negative attention toward Massey Energy, one of the largest coal producers in the United States.

Blankenship’s leaving signifies a move away from the controversial figure for the company, and the mining disaster still has yet to be settled completely.  The people of West Virginia, and specifically those who were affected firsthand by the mine explosion, are left answer-less as Blankenship takes the easy way out.  A pathetic coal baron indeed.

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Chuckie Corra

Chuckie Corra

I am a young, moderately liberal/progressive Democrat currently residing in the state of West Virginia. I attend Shepherd University, work closely with YDA, and have been active on FDL for about 6 months. I worked with the Elewana Education Project in Kenya to promote technology growth in secondary school students. My focus, then, tends to be on issues effecting WV, environmental issues (specifically coal issues), and growing African democracies specifically Kenya. I'm pretty open-minded

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