October is Employee Ownership Month (EOM)

The ESOP Association website describes Employee Ownership Month (EOM):

Accounting for the Costs of ESOPs Sponsored by Government Contractors

The Cost Accounting Standards Board (CASB) is a function located within The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) in the Office of Management and Budget:

U.S. Sugar ESOP Issues

In a complaint filed on January 31, 2008 and amended on May 2, 2008, three former U.S. Sugar Corp. employees and ESOP participants allege that their ESOP accounts were cashed out at prices lower than they should have been. The Complaint was recently discussed in major news publications and has become a major topic of discussion in the ESOP community.

UPDATE 11/22/2008: New Offer to Purchase U.S. Sugar

UPDATE 8/6/2008: Detailed Look at Florida's Purchase of 187,000 Acres of U.S. Sugar Land provides a detailed look at Florida's Purchase of the 187,000 Acres of Land Owned by U.S. Sugar Corp., including a review of the outstanding U.S. Sugar ESOP litigation.

UPDATE 7/2/2008: More US Sugar ESOP

UPDATE 6/25/2008: U.S. Sugar ESOP Update: Florida Purchasing U.S. Sugar Land discusses how Florida is purchasing land from U.S. Sugar Corp. and leasing it back for the next six years before turning over the land for conservation purposes, effectively shutting down the company.

Anaylsis

For purposes of our U.S. Sugar ESOP analysis, we will split the issues into ESOP perception issues and legal issues.

ESOP Perception Issues



Sugar workers say company cheated them on pensions was initially was posted Tuesday, May 27, 2008 on the International Herald Tribune, the global edition of the New York Times. On Wednesday the New York Times website posted an online article titled Sugar Workers, Given Shares Instead of Pension, Wonder Why Price Is So Low. Saving the most sensational headline for the print edition,
In Stock Plan, Employees See Stacked Deck appeared on the front page of the Thursday, May 29 edition of the New York Times.

Lean and Waste

What is this thing called LEAN ACCOUNTING, an article in the May/June 2008 edition of On Balance, discusses how lean principles revolve around a relentless pursuit to eliminate waste. It defines Lean and waste:

Indiana's ESOP Initiative (IEI)

State to help employees buy out companies discusses a new Indiana State Treasury program that will subsidize bank loans with the goal of encouraging more Indiana business to sell to an ESOP.

IRC Section 409A Nonqualified Deferred Compensation (NQDC) Plan Regulations

Now’s the Time to Comply With NQDC Regs discusses IRC Section 409A and the related nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plan regulations (see below for links to the regulations):

401(k) Loans – The Pros and Cons of Taking a Participant Loan and the Order of Priority of Personal Loan Resources

Time to Rebut a Misconception: The Hypotheses - Retirement Plan Loans are Double Taxed is an informative article in the Spring 2008 edition of the ASPPA Journal (page 36) that ranks the order of priority for personal loan resources:

H. Con. Res. 333: Expressing continued support for employee stock ownership plans

Rep. Maurice Hinchey [D-NY] introduced H. Con. Res. 333: Expressing continued support for employee stock ownership plans on April 24, 2008. The bill is cosponsored by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher [R-CA] and has been referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor. Here is the text of the legislation:

Non-Spouse Rollover Rules

We have been following the Non-Spouse Rollover Rule Changes since the passage of the PPA. The Pension Protection Act Blog notes that Rollovers to NonSpouse Beneficiaries Are Back With Passage of H.R. 3361 But For 2009 Instead of 2008:

Open-Book Management

The latest Employee Ownership Blog post, Open Book Management – Does Your Company Practice?, discusses open-book management (OBM):

The theory behind OBM is that all employees are provided information on the financials so they can and, hopefully, will make better and more informed decisions as workers and in the case of an ESOP company, as owners. The employees are also provided with training so they can properly read and understand the financial information and then provided with a forum to discuss the information.

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