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After months of silence, South Carolina’s mainstream media is finally devoting some ink to the “golden parachute” received by retiring Carolina First founder Mack Whittle.

How come? Well, the former USC Board of Trustees Chairman and Carolina First founder is getting called out by none other than S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford.

In a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Sanford blasted Whittle’s retirement package as one example of what he called the “circumvention” of limitations on executive compensation in the massive federal bailout bill.

“In early September, the SEC of South Carolina-based South Financial Group, Mack Whittle, announced his pending retirement and the $18 million golden parachute that came with it,” Sanford wrote to Paulson. “Most recently, however, the bank moved up his retirement by two months, and many have surmised (this) was done so the bank could apply for federal money tied to the $700 billion bailout without disallowing Whittle’s golden parachute.”

Of course that’s what they did. They also added about five million to the value of the package from its initial public disclosure.

Anyway, Sanford goes on to tell Paulson “I’d appreciate you looking into this and seeing if there is anything that can be done to keep each one of the taxpayers I represent from in essence having this $18 million, or other millions like it, plucked from their respective pocketbooks and wallets.”

News of Whittle’s lucrative retirement package technically “broke” several months ago, but few mainstream media outlets picked it up.