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Nation: Executive Swag

3 minute read

Perks from a “paymaster”

Awash in cash, some executives of an oil company have been spending it in unusual ways: extravagant gifts, liquor, gambling money, home appliances and other perks for themselves and their friends. So federal investigators have been told by a former middle manager of Amoco, a marketing subsidiary of Standard Oil Co. (Indiana).

Ken D. Anderson, 49, who in 1977 left as Amoco’s $44,500 manager of field training in the Atlanta office, says that he was “paymaster” for a group of executives who regularly dipped into an often replenished $400,000 “training fund” that was nominally under his control. The huge pot was never audited by Amoco or Standard of Indiana accountants, or revealed to the company’s out side auditors. Anderson claims to have dispensed about $1 million from 1972 to 1977 for as many as 50 of the company’s southeastern regional executives.

He has successfully undergone two lie-detector tests and ten days of twelve-hour interrogations by Government agents, and his story remains unshaken. The Securities and Exchange Commission, the Justice Department and the IRS are pur suing investigations. An Amoco spokesman acknowledges that the SEC has subpoenaed four high-ranking current and former executives along with corporate records from the Atlanta office.

Bolstering his charges with copies of company documents that he accumulated during the last 5½ of his 23 years with Amoco, Anderson claims that some of the money went for:

> Routine purchases of large amounts of liquor for executives who would drop by his office and give him written lists of what they wanted by the case lot. Anderson contends that he often had to bring in laborers to deliver the whisky to the homes of executives or to put a case or two in the trunks of their cars in the company parking lot.

> The purchase of many gift certificates worth up to $400 each at clothing stores and meat markets. Anderson says that he handed them out like poker chips. He filled numerous delivery orders for the families and friends of company officials.

> Scores of payments for clothing ranging from $200 to $800 for executives’ secretaries. Sometimes he would give the checks to the bosses and sometimes directly to the women.

> Hundreds of gold-plated watches, pens and lighters kept in a storeroom. Executives would stroll by and help themselves to handfuls.

Anderson also asserts that he covered the bills for expensive junkets taken by managers, their wives and women friends. He claims to have provided cash for gambling trips to Las Vegas, including $2,500 that was supposed to be handed to a very high executive through an intermediary. His “training fund,” says he, paid for a lavish party for the daughter of one company official and covered the one-month-only charge account at a top Atlanta department store for the fiancee of another. He contends that Amoco rigged contests at its dealer service stations, and relatives of company executives won costly prizes, including new Ford Mustangs.

His counterparts in the company’s four other U.S. regions, Anderson alleges, were handing out similar goodies. Says he: “This has been going on for so long that it became a way of life.” Amoco declines to comment “because of the investigation by the SEC,” but a spokesman calls Anderson “a disgruntled former employee.” Responds Anderson: “I’m not disgruntled. I’m just goddam mad.”

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