Free

Putting the wife on a budget…

For at least the the past eight years, a decorating firm owned by Carol Mizel, wife of MDC Holdings (MDC) Chairman and CEO Larry Mizel has had a consulting contract with the large Denver-based homebuilding company. In 2003, according to prior proxies, the Missus received $240K a year (or $20K a month) for her services. But a new consulting contract in the company’s recent 10-K cuts the fee down to a meager $10K a month. In exchange, Mrs. Mizel is required to work no more than 20 hours a week. It’s not clear from the older filings how the contract has changed over the past few years since the next most recent contract in the filings dates back to 2001 and was only a year-long contract. So Mrs. Mizel might have been required to work full-time during those years. In fairness, the company has consistently disclosed the arrangement dating back to the 1998 proxy, when Mrs. Mizel made $98K. But any time a large public company enters into a contract with a company run by the wife of the big boss, it should raise questions for investors. After all, does anyone really believe that any MDC employee would be willing to complain about the quality of the work done by the boss’ wife?