Tag Archive for ‘Don Blankenship’
When we hear about shootings, bank robberies, or home invasions, we expect the perpetrators to be arrested, tried, and punished appropriately if they are found guilty. When an employer ignores workplace safety and causes a worker to be seriously injured or killed on the job, it is just as criminal, yet arrests and prosecutions are rare. Why does our justice system so often shield businesses, CEOs, and other executives from criminal charges when they gamble with workers’ lives?
In April 2010, 29 miners died in Massey’s Upper Big Branch (UBB), the worst mining disaster in 40 years. On December 6, 2011, the U.S. Department of Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued a 1,000 page report of its investigation into the UBB tragedy. Alpha Natural Resources, which bought Massey earlier this year, agreed to pay $209 million in penalties (civil, criminal and restitution) for Massey Energy’s role in the explosion.
Buried within a damning report on last year’s Upper Big Branch coal mine disaster were some interesting details about what could lie ahead for Massey Energy, its executives, and the safety of its operations. “More than a year after 29 men died in the Upper Big Branch mine, there is strong evidence that Massey has not changed the manner in which it operates its mines,” the report said.
It’s probably safe to say that Don Blankenship had something to celebrate with the new year. Last Friday, the CEO of Massey Energy retired, and according to company disclosures he received $2 million that day. He’ll get another $10 million in July, plus consulting fees for two more years, CNN reported.
Can poor corporate governance practices serve as an indicator of bad management, higher risk and – potentially – disaster? In the case of Massey Energy Corp., operator of a West Virginia coal mine where at least 25 people were killed in an accident this week, the answer is yes, according to a leading corporate governance research firm.