A federal judge is weighing whether to allow up to $5.3 million in bonuses for eight senior Hawker Beechcraft executives after the company’s union and federal regulators criticized the payouts as a money grab.
The court has approved an exclusivity agreement with Superior Aviation Beijing allowing Hawker Beechcraft to sell the company to the Chinese company for $1.79 billion. The sale would not include Hawker Beech’s defense business. The judge last week approved $1.9 million in bonuses for 31 managers.
Hawker Beechcraft has defended its plan to pay larger bonuses to top executives, saying they are a "talented and capable group" that has much work left to complete before the company can emerge from bankruptcy.
The U.S. Trustee agency, a government bankruptcy watchdog, said the bonus plan is little more than a "disguised retention plan" that rewards managers for remaining at the company during bankruptcy reorganization. The union, meanwhile, is trying to block not only the bonuses but also the sale itself -- although with little progress so far.
The judge in the case is expected to rule on the bonuses soon.