The Rewards of Sucking

Delphi execs get bonuses for bankruptcy!

U.S. House Majority Leader John Boehner: Just like the Pope, minus the peace and compassion. - Getty  Images
U.S. House Majority Leader John Boehner: Just like the Pope, minus the peace and compassion.
As the U.S. auto industry struggles, even die-hard unionists are willing to make sacrifices. At bankrupt Delphi, the auto-parts giant that employs thousands in Mahoning County, workers have been asked to take steep cuts in wages, pensions, and health-care benefits.

They might be more inclined to sacrifice if their bosses would too. But a bankruptcy judge recently agreed to let loose $21 million in bonuses for the company's 486 executive officers.

Delphi spokeswoman Claudia Piccinin defends the move. "You have to be competitive in order to have your executives stay here and do the job that needs to be done," she says. But in light of Delphi's financial hemorrhage, her thesis seems to ignore a glaring concern: These guys really suck at the auto business.

It gets even weirder. If said execs manage to lose less than $81 million over the next six months, they can earn up to $17 million more in bonuses!

Workers, not surprisingly, are feeling a little slighted, since they'd be happy to suck too, if management would send an invite.

"It's a slap in their face when they're asked to make a sacrifice and they see $21 million going out in bonuses to the chief executives," says state Senator Bob Hagan (D-Youngstown). "It's just an abomination of what corporate responsibility is supposed to be about."

Moral majority leader
Ohio Republicans measure their morality on a generous sliding scale: Demonstrate the ethics of a personal-injury lawyer, and you've bought yourself a piece of the high ground. But new U.S. House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-West Chester) went out on a limb last month when he selflessly likened his values to those of the Holy Father.

"I believe I have a moral responsibility to fight for that for which the late Pope fought," Boehner wrote in a letter to the House Republican Values Action Team (life-size action figures sold separately). He was referring to his pro-life stance, but his words invited Catholics to compare other papal passions -- say, helping the poor (Boehner voted against aid to Africa) and not killing people (Boehner voted for the war in Iraq).

"To say you're with the Pope because you support him on one aspect is good, but let's talk about all the issues," says Jeff Sinnard, spokesman for Catholics for Faithful Citizenship. "We think he needs to fulfill his entire call as a Catholic and not pick and choose."

Predictably, Boehner's camp is outraged. Just because he uses his Catholicism for political points doesn't mean the matter's open for discussion, says spokesman Don Seymour. "This is nonsense. That this group chooses to attack John Boehner's personal faith because they disagree with him politically is petty and sad."

Goodbye, Connie?
It took Connie Schultz to break The Plain Dealer's 50-year Pulitzer curse. But if the paper hopes to win another medal before Ohio is voted out of the Union -- analysts predict this will happen by 2008 -- it may have to look elsewhere.

Schultz recently told readers that she would be "taking a leave" during hubby Sherrod Brown's run for the U.S. Senate. Editor Doug Clifton had voiced concerns that Schultz, a lefty's lefty, would be accused of parroting hubby's views. Things also were getting dicey in The PD newsroom, Schultz says, with longtime friends having to cover the campaign objectively, or at least pretend to. (These are journalists, after all.)

But Schultz sounds unconvinced that she will ever return to the paper that made her famous.

Since winning last year's Pulitzer for commentary, she has finished a book of columns and essays, become an in-demand speaker, and been wooed by bigger newspapers -- all of which leaves her itching for new challenges, she says. "With security can come complacency, and I never want to feel that."

Also, she's not sure she'll even be wanted back -- especially if Brown wins. "That's the million-dollar question: Once my husband's elected, can I still do this?" she says. "We've left that open."

Ron's in the closet
Two weeks after he authored a bill that would deny gays the right to adopt, state Representative Ron Hood (R-Nuremberg Trials) still isn't returning calls on the plan. A staffer says Hood is "spending time with his wife," but insiders say he's curled up in a dark closet, weeping through the credits of The Bird Cage.

So Hood's office is referring calls to Greg Quinlan, founder of Dayton's Pro-Family Network and Ohio's self-appointed Chief Gay-Bashing Executive. Quinlan, who calls himself an "ex-gay" -- as in "totally gay, but I can't afford to keep redecorating" -- is the man behind the gay-adoption ban. He also championed Ohio's notorious gay-marriage ban, along with the state's less feared gay-ice-fishing ban.

"Homosexuality is incompatible with parenting," Quinlan says. Apparently it is also incompatible with sharing dish-washing duties, since the bill would also ban adoption by anyone living with a gay person.

Though the bill is likely dead for now -- House Speaker Jon Husted, himself adopted, thinks it's a really dumb idea -- Quinlan says that just like with the marriage ban, which took years to muscle into law, "We're in this for the long haul."

Meanwhile, he's working on his next plan, which involves "fags, 70 acres on Kelleys Island, and all the chain-link fence money can buy."

Cheap bastards
If you needed confirmation that Cleveland's economy is in the tank, last week's Cleveland Magazine Crush Party should do the trick.

Don't get Punch wrong: The Valentine's Day shindig, held at the swanky View nightclub, was chock-full of single hotties and plenty of free booze. But when it came time to auction off dates for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the crowd got alligator arms.

A $300-plus date -- opera tickets, dinner at Vivo, and more -- with a hunky golf pro went for just $225. And when Lisa Pacanovsky, a 28-year-old vixen with a smile that could melt Greenland, went up for bid, the room about fell silent. Though the date included dinner at spendy Lockkeepers and cocktail classes at the Velvet Tango Room -- where an Amstel Light requires 30-year financing -- the final bid came in at just $120.

"I think the guys are pretty cheap around here," Pacanovsky told Punch, who offered to console her over dollar beers at McCarthy's.

She politely declined.

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