Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sister's wedding in Pittsburgh!

The wedding was in a really beautiful , peaceful location, Green Gables, in the Pennsylvania mountains. It’s a playhouse in the mountains that folks from Pittsburgh make a pilgrimage once a year or so for a night out on the town. There were over 160 friends and family and it was a great opportunity to catch up with everyone even if only briefly. I saw neighbors from the street I grew up on in North Huntingdon, family that I hadn’t seen in several years, and friends of family that lives back East. We drove by the mine where 7 miner’s were lost last year, and drove up to the area I first learned to ski. One thing that surprised me was just how small the hill was that I learned to ski. Its nothing like the mountains in the west.

Travels to Anaheim, Ca

Orange County, which I am sure has its merits, was not the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. Anaheim was just a bunch of concrete buildings isolated from one another by large hedges and iron fences. We stayed at the Hyatt Hotel. The overwhelming emotion captured by the construction in the area was isolation and artificiality. I was impressed that there were sidewalks through most of the area, this was very nice. Its just all the parking lots, stoplights, and non human sized streets that cause a feeling of anxiety. I suppose its what most of America looks like, but going out for a run through the area I just can’t help but ask myself how we got into this situation, with all these vestiges of an agrarian past taking up space with lawns and isolating ourselves into our little pod homes. There’s so much space for parking and cars…just so much space. And the entity of Anaheim seems to have been paved. They left enough space for palm trees down the middle of the highway. what have we done?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Citigroup and restricted stock dividend payments to executives

The August 25, 2006 Wall Street Journal reported in the article "Citigroup Payouts to Chiefs Irk Holders" that the top executives received dividend payments on restricted stock from the moment they are awarded. This is DESPITE the fact that they do not actually gain control of the stock until years down the line.

Wow, how is this not illegal? The individual doesn't actually own the stock until years down the road yet they can receive dividends on it ahead of time. One measure of fairness in the system would be to determine if the opportunities given to one shareholder translate equally to another. See, someday, say in 10 years, I too plan to own citibank shares. So, shouldn't I too be able to receive dividends on those shares? Perhaps I'll send a note and ask for my dividends on this stock which I intend to own in the future.

Shame on you for accepting the payments, Mr. Prince. And shame on the Citibank board for permitting this shenanigan. If you want to pay him, cut him a check. Don't muddy the waters like this, calling it a 'dividend' on stock he doesn't even have control of.

From the article, "is slated to pay Mr. Prince $1.4 million this year on unvested restricted and deferred stock he held through February of this year, including his most recent restricted stock grant from the company." This is on top of $13 million in salary and bonuses plus $9.7 million in restricted stock awards.