UAW GOLF COURSE TO BE SUPPORTED WITH BAILOUT CASH

Make UAW Sell its Championship Golf Course Before a Bailout

By EXAMINER EDITORIAL HOT ZONE
12/16/08


A view of the finely groomed Black Lake golf course owned by the UAW. (Michigan Golf)
What do UAW executives and workers do to relax? They play golf at the union’s highly touted championship caliber Black Lake Golf Club, designed by Rees Jones. The UAW golf club is in secluded Onaway, MI, as part of the union’s Walter and Mary Reuther Family Education Center. Also part of Black Lake are a learning center, a practice facility with practice bunkers, chipping and putting greens, and a small, nine-hole par-three Little Course.Golf Digest named Black Lake as one of top “upscale public courses.” And Michigan Golf described the course as a “classic” that includes “wide, well-groomed fairways [that] provide ample room for big hitters.” But some big hitters get special privileges at Black Lake. Tee times can be reserved up to two weeks in advance by UAW execs, compared to only three days for non-UAW duffers. Cost to play Black Lake is $95 per round.

Remember all the much-deserved bad press Detroit’s high-paid Big Three executives received last month when they flew in their corporate jets to beg Washington for a tax-paid bailout? Has anybody in Congress or the media bothered to ask UAW head Ron Gettelfinger about his union’s assets and perks like Black Lake Golf Club?

As head of one of the nation’s most powerful unions, Gettelfinger doesn’t earn nearly as much as Detroit’s top CEOs. GM’s Rick Wagoner, for example, made more than $14 million last year. But Gettelfinger’s total compensation of nearly $160,000 annually far exceeds the U.S. median gross family income of $61,500 and puts him among the top five percent of all tax filers, according to U.S. Census Bureau and IRS data.

And the UAW is anything but poor, with net assets reportedly worth an estimated $1.23 billion. UAW membership has been declining for years, as it has for most major unions, but annual income from member dues, interest and other revenues exceeded $300 million in 2006.  

UPDATE:

Michelle Malkin does some digging and comes up with a bunch more information, including a Detroit News investigation that found the Black Lake course is a big money loser for the UAW.

http://www.dcexaminer.com/opinion/Should_UAW_Sell_its_Championship_Golf_Course.html

LET YOUR CONGRESSPERSON KNOW WHAT YOU THINK – IS THIS WHAT CONGRESS PROMISED TO SPEND THE BAILOUT CASH ON?

http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

Your Bailout Tax Dollars At Work – The UAW’s Gold Plated Golf Course

Money pit: The UAW’s gold-plated golf course

By Michelle Malkin  •  December 16, 2008 06:58 PM

President Bush and the Democrats are happily hammering out the final details of the UAW bailout. The union fatcats are laughing all the way to the…golf course. Their gold-plated golf course. Oh, wait, President Bush forgot to mention it.

And while everyone’s blabbering about “concessions,” here’s a question: If the auto CEOs have to give up their jets, what about the UAW brass and their posh resort?

Here:

Black Lake Golf Course

“Owned and operated by the United Auto Workers union, Black Lake is a public course that provides UAW members and retirees substantial discounts from the regular greens fees. But even at regular rates of up to $95 per round, Black Lake is worth the price. Tee time reservations are accepted up to 14 days in advance for UAW members, and three days in advance for public play.”

More:

Black Lake Golf Club is the newest addition to the UAW’s Walter and May Reuther Family Education Center, situated on 1,000 heavily forested acres along the southeast side of Black Lake, one of Michigan’s largest inland lakes near Onaway, Michigan.

Black Lake Golf Club complements the Center’s recreational facilities, which now include a beautiful gym with two full-sized basketball courts, an Olympic-size indoor pool, and exercise and weight room, table-tennis and pool tables, a sauna, beaches, walking and bike trails, softball and soccer fields and a boat launch ramp.

The UAW selected one of golf’s most acclaimed course architects, Rees Jones, to design an environmentally responsible, championship caliber course. It was a challenge eagerly embraced by Jones, Golf World Magazine’s “Architect of the Year” in 1995.

Like everything else we’re subsidizing, it’s a money pit:

Down a lonely country road far from the interstate hangs a banner at the UAW’s golf course: “Public welcome.” But a review of the golf course and adjacent education center’s financial statements indicate that not enough people have been visiting.

The UAW International’s golf course and education center operations on 1,000 acres near Onaway have together lost $23 million over the past five years, independent audits obtained by the Free Press show. Both are run as for-profit corporations, according to paperwork filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, and the UAW has been propping them up with loans.

“There’s a lot of debate over what to do,” said Arthur Wheaton, a union expert from Cornell University. “They’ve been having trouble there trying to get enough people to go through there to justify the expense,” he added.

…While the UAW International has a huge reserve of money, the union filed financial records with the federal government stating that it spent about $2.7 million more than it took in during 2007 — the third time over the past five years that the union spending exceeded receipts, records show.

“All you have to do is look at the membership trends and realize that there was a golden age when they could easily support the education center,” said Hal Stack, director of the Labor Studies Center at Wayne State University.

“It could be that either things turn around or they sell it,” he added.

From a peak of 1.5 million members in the 1970s, the UAW ranks have dropped to just 465,000 regular members, according to its most recent federal filings.

In 2007 the UAW had receipts — union dues, fees and other income — of $327.6 million and it spent $330.3 million. While losing members, the UAW International, since at least 2000, has been able to hold fairly steady in the amount of money it brings in and spends, according to federal records. It has $1.2 billion in net assets.

Gregg Shotwell, a UAW activist, is not troubled to learn that the education center is losing money. “When you are educating and training union members, that’s the business of the union. That’s never a loss,” Shotwell said.

But the golf course is a different story to Shotwell. “We should be running a union — not a country club,” he said.

The DC Examiner lambastes the UAW and its enablers: Make UAW Sell its Championship Golf Course Before a Bailout

http://michellemalkin.com/2008/12/16/money-pit-the-uaws-gold-plated-golf-course/

LET YOUR CONGRESSPERSON KNOW WHAT YOU THINK! – WAS THIS WHAT CONGRESS PROMISED TO SPEND THE “TROUBLED ASSET RELIEF PROGRAM” MONEY ON?  

http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

END THE BAILOUTS NOW!

THE TOP 10 – WORSE BAILOUT BOONDOOGLES TODATE

The 10 worst bailout boondoggles

Wall Street titans that have taken taxpayer cash are squandering money on spa retreats, golden parachutes and more. Weren’t the huge bailouts supposed to be spent on saving the economy?

By Michael BrushSo far, the Treasury Department has injected more than $250 billion into the U.S. financial sector.

But precious little has come back out in the form of loans that were supposed to help get the economy going again.

In the meantime, banks have been anything but shy about using billions of dollars for other purposes, many of which seem to have little to do with getting the U.S. economy rolling. Top bailout recipients have spent billions on everything from purchases of foreign companies to extravagant spa retreats and from exorbitant golden parachutes and executive pay packages to CEO use of corporate jets for private trips.

So we did a little monitoring ourselves, with the help of BailoutSleuth.com and other Web sites. Here’s what we found.

Pay to play

Citi Field © Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Millionaire players on the New York Mets and the Manchester United soccer team should be slapping high-fives over the government bailouts. The reason: The money is helping to pay their salaries. Without $45 billion in government help and a $306 billion backstop on its portfolio of rotten mortgage-backed securities, Citigroup would likely have disappeared. If so, the bank would have reneged on a $400 million, 20-year deal to name the new Mets stadium “Citi Field.” Now, one New York pol quipped, “Citi-Taxpayer Field” might be a better name. And thanks to $144 billion in bailout money, AIG can make good on the $47 million it had agreed to pay for the right to plaster its logo on Manchester United soccer jerseys for the next 18 months. Glory, glory, Man United. AIG says it won’t renew the contract and has eliminated other sports sponsorships.

Empire building

Top bailout recipients Many banks are playing “Let’s Make a Deal” and building empires with bailout money, instead of using it to make loans that help the economy. Shortly after PNC Financial Services got a $7.7 billion cash injection, it announced a buyout of National City. BB&T and Zions Bancorporation have said they have the urge to merge — now that they’ve collectively pocketed $4.5 billion in bailout funds. Bigger banks mean less competition and higher fees for the taxpayers who helped fund these deals. And the mergers have created more banks that are “too big to fail” — so when they come back for more money, it’ll be even harder to say no. BB&T says it would buy only “problem” banks, in the spirit of the bailout program.

Golden parachutes for failure

National City Bank © Aaron Josefczyk/Reuters/Landov Cleveland’s National City bank was run so badly that it was virtually ruined, mainly by imprudent exposure to subprime mortgages. Management’s reward for creating this colossal disaster: $200 million in golden parachutes. And taxpayers will get fleeced a second time. Because of a last-minute change in tax rules, PNC Financial Services, which bought National City, will get about $725 million in income-tax credits. Those credits stem from the $19.9 billion PNC expects to lose on bad loans made by National City.

A bailout for China?

Kenneth Lewis © Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI/Landov, Michael Lewis/CorbisU.S. taxpayers were told the $700 billion financial-system bailout would create jobs by helping the economy. Instead, one of the banks getting the most bailout money is plowing tens of billions of dollars into foreign companies. Bank of America, which will get $25 billion in bailout loans, recently spent about $7 billion to double its stake in state-owned China Construction Bank. B of A, whose CEO is Kenneth Lewis (pictured above), says it would’ve spent the money even without a cash infusion from the feds.
[The Bank Of China owns a significant amount of stock in Bank of America]

AIG’s $440,000 post-bailout party

St. Regis  Resort © age fotostock/SuperStockWhile taxpayers were still absorbing the shock of having to foot an $85 billion bill (a tab that later grew to $144 billion) to bail out American International Group, executives at the insurer headed straight for the exclusive St. Regis resort in Southern California just days after their company got the money. The $440,000 tab for their eight-day stay at the Tuscan-style resort included $150,000 for meals, $23,000 in spa charges and $7,000 for golf outings. AIG says the event was held mainly to reward performance of independent insurance agents and brokers who were not company employees.

How gold is my parachute?

Peter Kraus © Jin Lee/Bloomberg News/Landov   Peter Kraus joined Merrill Lynch in early September to head up its strategy team. But Bank of America, bolstered by $25 billion in bailout money, won shareholder approval this month to take over Merrill. The deal will trigger a golden-parachute clause in Kraus’ contract, allowing him to pocket as much as $25 million for his two months on the job, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Pay to fail

AIG © Everett Kennedey Brown/epa/CorbisShould taxpayers pay to keep executives who steered a company into a ditch? American International Group thinks so. It recently agreed to pay retention bonuses to 130 executives, including $3 million for Jay Wintrob, who heads the division that sells annuities. Last year, he earned $2.5 million in salary, bonus, stock and options. Other AIG execs will get more than $500,000, or about 200% of their salaries, to stay through 2009, according to Bloomberg. The insurer had previously promised to forgo bonus payouts as part of the bailout plan. AIG says retention bonuses are needed to keep execs from leaving while it restructures and that departures could cause the company’s reinsurers to cancel contracts.

Extravagant pay

Richard Fairbank © Michael Temchine/The New York Times/WpNAs millions of Americans learn what it’s like to make ends meet on unemployment insurance, executives at banks getting taxpayer bailouts will continue to live the high life. Capital One Financial CEO Richard Fairbanks (pictured above) got $73.1 million in pay last year, according to The Corporate Library. That’s 1,456 times the median household income of $50,233 earned by taxpayers footing the bill for Capital One’s $3.55 billion federal bailout. Bank of America chief Kenneth Lewis last year took home $23 million, or 458 times the income earned by taxpayers covering his bank’s $25 billion bailout. Both CEOs also make way more than the median of $8.85 million for CEOs at S&P 500 companies. Despite having to lean on taxpayers with modest incomes for help, both CEOs will likely continue to earn stratospheric pay. Neither bank has indicated it plans to cut CEO pay.

Free use of a corporate jet for personal travel

James Dimon and John Mack © Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg News/LandovWhile hard times are forcing many Americans to stretch another year out of the family jalopy, the CEOs at banks getting bailout money will continue to ride — and fly — high. John Mack (pictured right), who heads Morgan Stanley, which has taken $10 billion in bailout money so far, enjoyed $356,000 worth of personal use of a corporate jet last year. JPMorgan Chase has gotten $25 billion in bailout money. Its chief, James Dimon (pictured left), took $211 million worth of use of a company jet last year. He used company cars at an estimated cost of $68,000. So far, neither company has indicated it will cut back on CEOs’ personal use of corporate jets as part of its acceptance of taxpayer bailout money.

Lobbying

congress © Mike Theiler/LandovCitigroup, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase each spent around $5 million lobbying the federal government during the first nine months of 2008. Citigroup is getting $45 billion in bailout money, while the two others are getting $25 billion each. You can expect millions of dollars of that money to be spent on wining and dining Washington lawmakers; none of the banks has indicated it plans to cut back on lobbying.
CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSPERSON AND LET THEM KNOW WHAT YOU THINK? END THE BAILOUTS NOW!
CONGRESS PROMISED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT THIS WOULD NOT HAPPEN –
TELL CONGRESS TO KEEP THAT PROMISE

 

 

%d bloggers like this: