WNY leaders blast airline after payouts

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The parent company of the airline that crashed in Clarence Center is feeling more heat from Capitol Hill, Thursday.

Members of the western New York congressional delegation sent a letter Wednesday to the Chief of Pinnacle, blasting the carrier for delivering fat payouts to top brass right before filing for bankruptcy.

It sounds like bankrupt Pinnacle Airlines awarded big bonuses to its CEOs at a time when dozens of Flight 3407 families still have pending claims against the company. Many local leaders are livid.


Not mentioned by delegation: Douglas Shockey, Pinnacle's former Vice President and COO Not mentioned by delegation: Sean Menke, current Pinnacle CEO Mentioned by delegation: Phil Trenary, former Pinnacle CEO, and John Spanjers, current Pinnacle COO

Congresswoman Kathy Hochul said, “They have claims to pay to these families, and they pay these bonuses. It's more than the people in this district want to deal with.”

Local members of Congress have learned, bankrupt Pinnacle Airlines Corporation paid its outgoing CEO Philip Trenary a severance package worth $1.7 million. COO John Spanjers received a $125,000 raise.

Pinnacle still has not settled wrongful death lawsuits with 23 families of Flight 3407 victims.

Congressman Brian Higgins said, “Arrogance. Total disregard for decency, for what's right.”

Higgins said,” Really speaks to the lack of integrity with respect to the individuals in the company involved.”

A Pinnacle spokesman says, Trenary’s settlement was part of his contract, and Spanjers took an additional responsibilities at the airline. Local members of Congress promise to find a remedy to this situation.

Western New York’s Congressional delegation's letter to Pinnacle’s COO states the airline failed to properly pay employees, hasn't fulfilled obligations to Flight 3407 families, but Pinnacle approved six figure salary increases.

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