On New Jersey’s sinking real estate values…

mcmansionLate yesterday, Autozone (AZO) filed both its proxy and 10-K, giving those who follow the company 126 pages to sift through. But it was something in a footnote to the proxy statement that caught my attention: the Memphis-based company spent $250K to bail out CFO William T. Giles from his home. Of course, the company didn’t say it exactly like that in the filing. Instead, they said it like this: “The remaining amount consists of $6,500 for repair and maintenance of Mr. Giles’ former home while it was on the market and a difference of $245,100 between the appraised value at which the Company purchased the home and the price at which it was ultimately sold.”

While the company doesn’t say where the house was located, Giles used to be the CFO of the now-private Linens & Things, which is based in Clifton, NJ. So it’s a pretty safe bet that the house was located somewhere reasonably close to the company’s headquarters. And while it’s true that $250K isn’t huge in terms of the Autozone’s size (their market cap is close to $8 billion), it’s just another example of how the sting of sharply falling real estate prices that has led to the current sub-prime mess and is prompting waves of people to file for bankruptcy, isn’t pinching everyone the same way.