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Friday, April 30, 2004

Westport’s Martha Stewart Gets $500,000 Bonus from Her Company

Despite her legal problems, Westport’s Martha Stewart got a $500,000 bonus from her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., last year, according to a federal filing.

It was about 67 percent more than required by her employment contract.

Stewart was convicted in March of lying to investigators about a stock sale and will be sentenced in June.

She received her regular salary of $900,000 last year from the company as well as the bonus, a Securities and Exchange Commission filing showed.

Stewart receives a guaranteed minimum bonus payment of $300,000 annually, according to her employment contract, the filing said.

Her bonus was $200,000 higher than the minimum, but it was down 27 percent from her 2002 award of $680,600 and less than half her $1.16 million bonus in 2001.

The company reported an operating loss in 2003, its first annual loss since going public in 1999. Its business has been hurt by Stewart’s legal problems, with advertising down at her flagship magazines.

Stewart stepped down as CEO in June 2003, hours after her indictment.

“The Compensation Committee believes that the compensation of Ms. Stewart as Chief Executive Officer should be heavily weighted to corporate performance and that the reduced level of compensation paid to Ms. Stewart with respect to 2003 reflects that objective,” the company said in the filing.

Stewart, who is appealing her criminal conviction, remains the controlling shareholder of the company and serves as “founding editorial director.”

Stewart’s successor as CEO, Sharon Patrick, took in a base salary of $850,746 in 2003, which was boosted to $900,000 annually beginning in January 2004, the filing showed.

Patrick received an $800,000 bonus in 2003, up from $680,600 in 2002.

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Posted 04/30/04 at 04:38 PM  Permalink



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