News flash: the flying CFO…

images-21thumbnailthumbnail1.jpegTime Warner’s (TWX) in the news business, right? After all, they own CNN, Time, and a bunch of other magazines. So why are we learning for the first time — via the current proxy filed yesterday (a preliminary copy was filed on March 30) that CFO Wayne H. Pace “has been authorized to use the corporate aircraft to travel between his work location in New York City and the residence he maintains in Atlanta” since the fall of 2001?

A search of the company’s prior filings not only turns up no earlier reference to the arrangement, which cost the company $512K last year, but also no actual copy of Pace’s employment agreement, which the company says was entered into in the fall of 2001 when Pace was promoted to CFO. In last year’s proxy, the company did disclose that the company spent $338K for “transportation related benefits”, which presumably included the cost of Pace commuting between Atlanta and New York, though the perk wasn’t exactly spelled out.

Of course, that wasn’t the only interesting disclosure in yesterday’s filing. There was also the hefty legal bills that the company (or its insurer) covered related to a string of investor lawsuits from the halcyon days of 2000. Among the beneficiaries is billionaire Ted Turner who rang up $1.07 million in legal bills last year, more than double the $410K spent in 2005. That ought to sit well with some of the 289 people (including 172 journalists) who were let go earlier this year.

UPDATE: Via Muckraked, I learned that there’s some interesting back-story on Pace that was reported here last year.