Gottschalks bonus plan draws fire

A federal bankruptcy trustee objected Monday to a request by Gottschalks Inc. to pay bonuses to its top two executives.

But one local bankruptcy attorney said he believes the payout will likely win a judge's approval anyway.

Attorneys for the Fresno-based retailer this month asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware for a bonus pool of up to $500,000 for James Famalette, Gottschalks' chairman and chief executive, and Greg Ambro, executive vice president and chief operating officer.

The company told the court the bonuses are necessary to compensate the two for the "extraordinary efforts" required to lead the company through bankruptcy.

In Monday's court filing, acting U.S. trustee Roberta DeAngelis said the proposed bonus fails to comply with bankruptcy law because it requires nothing of Famalette and Ambro "beyond their customary day-to-day duties."

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