Boise Firms Make Wall Street List

Maybe it is the weather or maybe the GUARDIAN is just getting old and cranky, but there isn’t much for informed realists to take pride in lately around town.

In the midst of the indignation over the Albertson’s executive compensation revelations, we were heartened to note that KTVB Channel 7 had the cajones to mention that two Boise firms made the Wall Street Journal list of worst performing companies in America.

Both firms have CEOs who live large at the expense of shareholders. Albertson’s ranked a disrespectful #26 on the list of worst performing companies, but not to be outdone, Micron came in at #13! These companies are constantly favored by local politicos with special tax incentives and assorted deals.

Doubt if we will see anything on the Boise City web site which loves to post national mentions of published rankings about Boise. Realistically, we are probably just about average when it comes to getting screwed by big business. The difference is when you live in a “small town” it seems almost personal to witness the unnecessary demise of once decent local firms.

Over the years we have watched Boise Cascade emerge, dwindle and become whatever it is today with a CEO laughing all the way to the bank.

We saw Bill Agee take Morrison-Knudsen down the path of destruction while the local media headlined every hair brained “visionary” scheme he offered.

The list of “local companies” with national importance is sad to recall. Extended Systems simply never made it, Micron does OK when they can get the government to lock out competition, Zilog is gone, Jabil left town.

Team Dave down at the mayor’s office gets excited when ten guys cash in their California houses and move to Boise to run a baby buggy factory–IN CHINA! That’s considered an economic coup.

The good name of Joe Albertson has been dragged in the mud and stomped on by greedy outsiders led by Larry Johnston. And yes folks, they are outsiders. The man and the stores we once knew, patronized, and considered “ours” have been ravaged.

Johnston is reportedly set to make $16.4 million in annual compensation. Our GUARDIAN calculator tells us that breaks down to $63,000 a day, $315,000 per week with no vacation factored in. But then when you make $7,884 an hour (8 hr day) it accumulates fast.

The most insidious part of the story is how our small town politicos cater to their greed, encourage growth, offer tax breaks, zoning changes, and put these people on their charity and civic boards.

We offer a plaintive, “Say it ain’t so, Joe.”

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Well said, Guardian. CEO pay is as big a scandal as the occupation of Iraq, and is virtually ignored. Why should CEO pay be upwards of 2500% higher then the average employee? That is obscene. And then there are your sports stars and movie stars who are grossly overpaid for what they contribute to society. The president of the US, who earns $400,000 (I think), should be the highest paid person in the country.

    But, then, one of my other personalities asks: Do we have a free enterprise system, or not?

  2. These high CEO salaries are at the expense of the Idaho taxpayers! Didn’t their companies get large property tax breaks at our expense? No wonder they are on the edge of bankruptcy. I can see we really need some true conservative reps in the statehouse. A good many in there now are only beholden to the lobbyists , not the Idaho citizens! We need to clean house!!

  3. Do we need “true conservative reps in the statehouse”? I think we have a herd of them there now. They seem to be MOST prone to dole out tax breaks to the undeserving while taking meaningless and token property tax relief measures. I’m not even sure what we do need anymore. I do know that Boise and the surrounding area would be hurting if Micron pulled out. I also know that the CEO of Micron took a bare bones salary during the time the company was not making money. That’s almost unheard of anywhere. Perhaps we should make all legislator’s salary “at risk”…if they don’t perform, they don’t get paid. We could use some kind of constituent’s scorecard. I know those who “represent” me wouldn’t have received much this session or last.

  4. Hey Tam, you are maybe not aware the CEO of Micron cashed in literally tens of millions of dollars worth of stock options prior to not taking a salary?
    And that he could work for Micron for another 150 years with no pay and still be wealthier than 99.9% of Americans?

  5. It was actually about $93 MILLION and he just happened to sell at about $88 a share – just before the stock tanked…..wonder what he knew that we didn’t. All of his VP’s did the same… do you say they had “inside” information?!?

    Makes it easy to forgo a salary of $295,000 when you make $10 a year on just the interest.

  6. Robert Booth
    Mar 31, 2006, 7:07 am

    I’m sorry this is just sick. I own a little of the Albersons stock and I can’t understand how this happens. Mine isn’t enough to have a vote that counts. Is there any way we can sue to stop such legal robbery.

  7. Part of the problem is that the Statesman does not report on Boise Business. You’re correct, it loves to run the “Among the Best Nationally” stories, but those are just easy rewrites of a published story.

    I notice that most of the articles in the Statesman’s business section are from the AP or Gannet news Service. Minimal local reporting, so the abuses and scandals go unnoticed.

  8. Get used to it folks. When power and money are concentrated, corruption, both government and corporate, gets worse. What we have going on in this country is exactly what you have in many third world governments where the wealth is concentrated and power is shared by only a few people. No wonder the Republican mantra for years has been, “let business regulate itself”. It sure has worked for them.

  9. abs stockholder
    Apr 1, 2006, 11:41 am

    KTVB’s actually been very agressive on the alby’s story. more so than the newspaper, which seems to have a big fat pair of rose-colored glasses on.

  10. Every time I drop into my local Albertson convenience store I ask the clerk if s/he is making somewhat the same amount as Larry Johnston. Guess that is a bit cruel. It is hard to comprehend the amount of greed in this country. How much can any one family need or spend? Do some of these people feel shame for their selfishness? Do they think people admire them for their conspicuous consumption? Years ago people of wealth made a point of not calling attention to themselves by building fancy houses and driving expensive cars…I guess those days are gone. Whatever happened to that miserable so and so Bill Agee, by the way?

  11. Jack offers the following from an unknown source:

    Mary Agee 2/28/05

    Today’s corporate scandals are heavy on the accounting, light on the sex. Where are the juicy boardroom affairs? Where are allegations of a young female executive sleeping her way to the top? Where’s the love?

    Mary Cunningham Agee can hardly believe it’s been almost 25 years since she ended up on the covers of business magazines, caught up in such a scandal. Then 29, she was the executive assistant to William Agee, the CEO of manufacturing conglomerate Bendix. Fresh out of Harvard Business School, Cunningham quickly became a trusted confidant of her boss, and shortly after her arrival they both separated from their spouses. Her swift promotion to vice president of strategic planning did not sit well within the ranks of the Bendix executive suite. Anonymous notes alleging an affair with Agee poured into the boardroom, and a media frenzy ensued. Cunningham and Agee vehemently denied the rumors but married two years later. In her tell-all book published in 1984, she writes that their romance blossomed after she left the company.

    Today, the couple live in Napa Valley, having happily left corporate America and the media glare behind. After experiencing a miscarriage shortly after they were married, Mary Agee started the Nurturing Network, a nonprofit organization for women with unplanned pregnancies. With private donations and thousands of volunteers, the network provides counseling for the young women, as well as education, employment, and residential services. Though the organization is apolitical and has taken no government funding, it adheres to “pro-life” principles. “I realized that most women undergo abortions out of the sense that there is no other choice,” she says. The Nurturing Network will celebrate its 20th anniversary this Mother’s Day.

    Bill Agee, 67, is a strategic consultant and venture capitalist. He left Bendix after a hostile takeover battle with Martin Marietta and later became CEO of Morrison Knudsen before being forced out in 1995. The couple have a daughter at Notre Dame and a son heading to Stanford University next year.

    Though still not perfect, life has improved immeasurably for women in corporate America since 1980, and Mary Agee counts her story among those contributing to that progress. “Women are reflected in corporate culture at higher levels today,” she says. “I think I educated young women on some of the politics in business. If I had to do a little suffering for my daughter to have a better experience, that’s OK. -Megan Barnett

  12. Jack: That is very interesting. A couple of years ago I Googled up Mary Cunningham Agee and found someone of that name in some tiny town in Southern Washington near the Columbia River. She was running some network for women with unplanned pregnancies. Did you find anything like that?

    By the way, you should read Mrs. Agee’s autobiography. She said if she hadn’t married Bill she would have followed in Mother Teresa’s footsteps. I almost started crying, I was so moved. I would love to read the autobiography of the 1st Mrs. Agee and the children he abandoned. I bet they have a different take on things but are too classy to take it public.

  13. Butch Otter wants to bring more jobs to the state that has, in reality, 100% of the emplyable people employed. He wants to bring in more companies and more people from places like Calif. He thinks that is what the people want. Yes we want more crowded shools, more traffic, more crime and more drugs He must be nuts. HE WILL COST US A BUNCH WHEN HE REFUSES TO STAY IN THE HOME THE STATE BOUGHT FOR HIM. I”LL BET HE GETS PAID FOR HIS LODGING ELSEWHERE AND JUST BECAUSE HE DOESN’T WANT TO STAY IN THE HOUSE BUILT BY HIS X FATHER-IN-LAW

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