ITR Concession, the private operator of the bankrupt Indiana Toll Road, is asking a bankruptcy trustee for permission to dole out $748,000 in bonuses to its 38 employees as a retention incentive. According to the South Bend Tribune, the average bonus is $19,675 with one employee receiving a bonus as high as $95,000. "Their skills, knowledge and understanding of the Debtor's operations and infrastructure, including the skills necessary to manage and maintain the Indiana Toll Road, are essential to Debtor's business enterprise," ITR CEO Fernando Redondo stated in the court filing. The company declined to comment on the requested bonuses.
The foreign-owned concessionaire filed bankruptcy last September, owing more than $6 billion in debt, a much higher figure than the $3.8 billion Macquarie Group paid the state of Indiana for the 75-year lease of the toll road. Gov. Mitch Daniels assured the public at the time the state entered into the lease if the private operator ever went bankrupt, control of it would divert back to the state. When it actually happened, the state took an entirely different position. Instead, the bankruptcy court will allow the toll road to be sold to the highest bidder.
Only employees who remain employed by ITR until the closing of a purchase will be eligible for the bonuses. Half of the bonuses will be paid at the time of closing, while the balance will be paid to those employees who remain with ITR three months following closing. A new owner could pay considerably less than the $3.8 billion Macqarie Group paid the state of Indiana to assume ownership of the long-term lease. Among those interested bidders are the affected counties in northern Indiana, which are considering the formation of a consortium to acquire and operate the toll road.
The counties are split. The republicans won't go along
with what one primarily democratic county (LaPorte) had proposed.
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