Talk about stuffing yourself…

November 21, 2006

stuffing.jpegIn the days leading up to Thanksgiving, it’s hard not to think about eating too much. And clearly, Paul Toback, Chairman, CEO and President of gym chain Bally Total Fitness (BFT) has a hefty appetite, judging by the proxy filed yesterday. Though the company tries to explain away the $900K bonus as being tied to filing the 2005 10-K, one would think that’s part and parcel with the job. It’s also more than twice as much as Toback’s bonus was in fiscal 2004. There’s also the $838K in tax gross ups related to the vesting of restricted stock, bringing his total comp to $2.34 million, or more than twice as much as the chairman of Town Sports International (CLUB), a competing chain of gyms, received in fiscal 2005.

Equally interesting is that all but two of Bally’s ten non-employee directors received over $150K last year in various fees, which seems awfully filling for a company with a market cap of just over $100 million, to say nothing of the company’s performance. Compensation committee chairman, John W. Rogers Jr.,, who presumably had something to do with Toback’s hefty package, received just over $350K in fiscal 2006, according to the filing. Rogers, who runs Ariel Capital Management and sits on several other boards, stepped down as a director of Bally’s last week.

With all that over-eating, it’s a good thing these folks have easy access to a room full of treadmills! 

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