Free

Not kidding this time…

By now, I’m sure everyone has picked up on the fact that Friday’s post was an April Fool’s joke, though I’d prefer to think of it as wishful thinking on the part of an individual investor. I only wish that the preliminary proxy that Leucadia National Corp. (LUK) filed on Friday was a joke too. Apparently, President Joseph Steinberg has lots of free time on his hands — enough to burn through $743,556 in personal use of the Gulfstream last year. Not only is that 20% more than Steinberg spent in 2003 on personal air travel and more than his salary of $630K. But it also blows away (flies above?) executive Gulfstream usage at any other company. A few weeks ago, when Morgan Stanley (MWD) filed its proxy and disclosed that embattled CEO Phillip Purcell had spent $467,142 on personal use of the corporate jet, that seemed like an extraordinary number. But Steinberg makes Purcell look downright thrifty. Adding Steinberg’s spending to that of Leucadia Chairman Ian Cumming and you realize that investors spent nearly $1 million on personal air travel for the two top executives. So when were these guys working if they were doing all of that personal travel? Good question. Any answers?