Bankrupt A 123 Systems Wants to Pay Bonuses to Top Execs

Bankrupt A 123 Systems Wants to Pay Bonuses to Top Execs

Dow Jones Daily Bankruptcy Review reported that A 123 Systems, the bankrupt recipient of Obama’s department of energy loan, now wants to pay top executives more than four million dollars.

This is what Dow Jones reported:

“A123 Systems Inc., the electric car battery maker that filed for Chapter 11 last week after receiving nearly $250 million in government grants, wants to pay more than $4 million in bonuses to a handful of top executives.

The company is asking Judge Kevin Carey of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., to sign off on incentive bonuses totaling up to $4.1 million for nine key employees, including several company insiders—namely, corporate officers and directors—pending the sale of its assets at a bankruptcy auction.”

Well done, Mr. Obama. We will use some of the $132 million given to A 123 Systems to reward their top executives, who could never deliver an affordable lithium ion battery!  

But hold on. Was it not Mr. Obama who attacked the bonuses for executives at banks that received bailouts in 2008?  Of course Mr. Obama opined on the matter of these executives being given bonuses. The New York Times on January 29, 2009 quoted Obama as saying:

“There will be time for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to get bonuses,” Mr. Obama said during an appearance in the Oval Office with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner.  Now’s not that time. And that’s a message that I intend to send directly to them, I expect Secretary Geithner to send to them.”

Wow, what a difference in the feelings of the president form the beginning of his term to the end of his term.  A few days after taking office, Obama was all for Geithner telling the bankers to hold off on claiming their bonuses.  Now four year later, and just a few days before the next presidential election, there is not a word out of Obama’s mouth about the bonuses that the executives of the recently bankrupted A 123 Systems want.  Perhaps Obama should have Energy Secretary Chu carry his message to the A 123 executives that “now is not the time” to ask for bonuses.  Actually, Chu will have to carry the same message to executives of over a dozen failed green energy companies. 

Or perhaps Obama knows that these companies will never make a profit, and that there will never be a time for his green company executive friends and backers to ever get their bonuses, so they may as well collect their bonuses immediately in bankruptcy court.

Lindsay Leveen blogs at  and has written a book on energy and sustainability titled Hydrogen Hope or Hype?