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Pillowtex cushioned blow for Hansen

DALLAS — Taking some of the sting out of losing his job, Chuck Hansen, the charismatic, sometimes contentious, and always-in-your-face former chairman and ceo of Pillowtex Corp., got a $4.85 million payoff when he was ousted last October. This from the company he had worked at for 35 years, and which he had built up to a billion-dollar powerhouse through a long string of acquisitions, until a staggering debt load proved his undoing.

In a filing with the Federal Securities and Exchange Commission, Pillowtex said it paid Hansen a lump sum payment of $4.85 million upon his resignation from all his positions at the company.

And putting to rest speculation that Hansen might resurface some time soon, or even try to buy back the company's pillow and pad business, Pillowtex said that even though it bought out Hansen's employment contract some key stipulations in it remain in place, "including the noncompete provision."

In addition to the lump-sum settlement, Hansen received cash compensation of $930,267 for the 10 months he worked last year, including a salary of $750,000 and "other annual compensation" totaling $170,267.

Just what does "other" mean? It means some highly attractive fringe benefits — specifically, $105,545 for his personal use of the company airplane, $14,605 for car allowance, and $50,117 for income-tax reimbursement. For the record, Pillowtex never owned the Gulfstream III corporate jet, it only leased it, and has since terminated the lease. And Hansen's cars? Unless he's sold it since, they include a red Ferrari.

But that's only part of the story. Keep in mind that Hansen also owns 2,643,410 shares of Pillowtex, stock now nearly worthless since the company's bankruptcy filing last October. At the stock's zenith, about $52 three years ago, Hansen's stake would have been worth more than $137 million. But with the stock trading at a paltry 8 cents a share last week, Hansen's stock has a value, at least on paper, of just $211,472. And that's making the rather large assumption that he could find a buyer. And soon, Hansen's stock could be worth even less — worthless to be specific — if it's cancelled out, reduced to zero, which is what usually happens at the end of a bankruptcy proceeding, when the banks, bondholders and creditors take what ever they can get their hands on.

But just think of the tax loss he can get out of that.

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