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Saturday Special and a mea culpa!

I normally don’t blog on the weekends, since the SEC is closed and there’s no new filings. But I did want to point out this story in the St. Pete Times based on something I found in Teco’s (TECO) 10-K filed earlier this week. I got my start as a business reporter down in Tampa back in 1988, which brings me to my mea culpa: I made a mistake with an item on my blog and in my article in Slate yesterday about Carnival and a retirement/consulting deal they had inked with Kirk Lanterman, Holland America’s CEO. I mistakenly relied on just the 10-K, instead of checking it against the proxy. While the K described the money Lanterman would receive as a consulting contract, which led to the headline, “The $33,000 an hour consultant”, the proxy described the deal as deferred income based on bonuses not collected prior to 1999. A Carnival spokesman, Tim Gallagher, said it was done that way for “tax planning reasons. I’m not sure why it would be set up as a consulting agreement.” Nor, am I, but that’s not the point here. It is, however, a reminder that reading these documents can often be tricky: sometimes something seems obvious, and it’s not. In any event, I apologize to Carnival and Kirk Lanterman for making this mistake.