Golden signatures…

Chances are you sign your name several times a day — on a check, for example. And unless you’re some big star, chances are your signature isn’t worth all that much. But at Source Interlink (SORC) the signatures of four top executives were worth quite a bit of cash earlier this month. In an 8-K filed last week, the company noted that it had signed new employment contracts with several long-time executives and decided to reward those executives with payments — they didn’t call them signing bonuses because that would have been too obvious. All told these signatures cost Source’s shareholders $1.3 million. Chairman and CEO S. Leslie Flegel, who only signed a new employment agreement in May 2003, received the most for his signature — $750K — according to the filing. President and COO James Gillis received $300K for his signature, while two other executives — CFO Marc Fierman and EVP Jason Flegel — received $135K and $125K respectively for their signatures. Each of the employment agreements runs through 2010. Also included in the filing was a consulting agreement for the elder Flegel that starts in 2010 and runs through 2015, unless he dies before then. But even when that happens, he’ll be able to collect since also included in the new employment agreement is a $2 million death benefit payable to his estate.

Full disclosure: I went to college with Jason Flegel — we were roomates our senior year — and he’s married to a friend of mine. So I really struggled over whether to write about this one. But since this blog is all about what’s buried in the filings — without respect to people I know or stocks I may own — I didn’t feel right ignoring this filing.