Vote for the Stinkiest Disclosure of 2009
%%DynaPub-Enhancement class="enhancement contentType-HTML Content fragmentId-1 payloadId-61603 alignment-right size-small"%% Here are the candidates:
1. Martha Stewart getting a $3 million retention bonus to remain at Martha Stewart Omnimedia (MSO).
2. Chesapeake Energy (CHK) spending $12.1 million to purchase Chairman and CEO Aubrey McClendon's antique map collection
3. InfoGROUP (IUSA) admitting that the cost of former CEO Vinod Gupta's yacht was really $873,078 instead of the zero it had previously disclosed.
4. Freddie Mac (FRE), which so far has taken more than $50 billion in government funds to stay afloat, handing out a $1.95 million signing bonus to its new CFO.
5. Ross Perot Jr. asking for -- and receiving -- a $1.1 million tax gross up -- that's money to reimburse him for taxes that would have been due on his severance payment -- after selling Perot Systems to Dell (DELL).
None of these disclosures would have been discovered by reading the companies' press releases, nor even from listening to their conference calls, and there's a reason for that. Companies tend to bury this stuff deep in their routine filings, which makes finding such items both a challenge and a treat.