Bonus for bad behavior!

In the proxy it filed earlier this week, Alliant Energy (LNT) noted that it had given its former CFO, Thomas Walker, a $680,000 bonus after he resigned at the end of August last year as part of his severance agreement and release. That’s more than twice the salary he received in 2002, which might seem bad enough, particularly since Alliant cut its dividend in half last year. But it gets even better. According to the proxy, Walker’s resignation was effective Nov. 15, 2003. Coincidentally, that’s the day after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth District in Chicago, ruled that Alliant owed $18.5 million in federal taxes on the $90 million profit it made on a tax shelter, according to a brief in The New York Times, which first reported on Alliant’s tax shelter several years ago. While Alliant hasn’t spelled out Walker’s role in the creation of the tax shelter, it’s probably safe to assume that as CFO, he had to be aware of it. Alliant shareholder certainly think so: several of them have named Walker in their lawsuits against the company.