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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

There is still SOME justice

Richard Scrushy is being ordered to repay $47 million in bonuses from HealthSouth Corp., in spite of being acquitted of fraud. This money will be used to make the company profitable again for investors.

The ruling by Jefferson County Circuit Judge Allwin E. Horn III came Tuesday in a shareholder lawsuit filed in 2002, when authorities were investigating allegations of insider trading by Scrushy, HealthSouth's main founder. While Scrushy was never charged with insider trading, the investigation exposed fraud at the company.

Federal jurors acquitted Scrushy on all criminal charges last year, but Horn said the ousted chief executive still must repay the company $47.8 million in bonuses and interest he earned while running HealthSouth from 1997 through 2002.

While the company initially reported profits during the period, Horn wrote, HealthSouth really lost money, making Scrushy and other executives ineligible for any bonuses. Whether Scrushy
knew of the fraud didn't matter, the judge said.

"Scrushy was unjustly enriched by these payments to the detriment of HealthSouth and to allow Scrushy to retain the benefit of these payments would be unconscionable," Horn ruled.

So, even though not convicted, he's been ordered to repay bonuses that weren't deserved. Given the Republican attitude that you can rape and pillage and it isn't a crime unless you get convicted of it this is a good decision by my standards.

It's not much to most of us, but if our courts behaved like this all the time, this would be a much better country for working people. And THAT would be a big deal for ALL of us.

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