NY State Comptroller: Blankenship should resign

April 12, 2010 by Ken Ward Jr.

This just in:

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today called for Massey Energy Company Chairman Don L. Blankenship to resign from the Board of Directors immediately. DiNapoli cited Massey’s failure to adequately address and manage the risks at West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch mine, where 29 miners perished following an explosion at the mine last week.

“Massey’s cavalier attitude toward risk and callous disregard for the safety of its employees has exacted a horrible cost on dozens of hard-working miners and their loved ones,” DiNapoli said. “This tragedy was a failure both of risk management and effective board oversight. Blankenship must step down and make room for more responsible leadership at Massey.”

In response to growing concern about board accountability, DiNapoli in November filed a shareholder resolution calling for Massey to declassify its board so that shareholders may more effectively weigh in on board performance. That resolution will be voted on at Massey’s annual meeting this spring.

DiNapoli is the sole trustee of the $129.4 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund which holds 303,550 shares of Massey stock, worth about $14.1 million.

7 Responses to “NY State Comptroller: Blankenship should resign”

  1. Josh says:

    This is a step in the right direction, but the whole Massey entity needs to be held accountable. If they only replace Don Blankenship I have a feeling it will be like what The Who sang: “meet the old boss, same as the new boss.” Hopefully DiNapoli is ready to unload some stock if he gets ignored like the rest of us do.

  2. scofield says:

    DiNapoli’s scrutiny of Massey’s safety practices is welcome and overdue. But he should also look at the company practices that not only put miners at risk, but also the health and water supplies of W. VA communities near Massey mines, slurry retention facilities, etc.

  3. John A. Joslin ( Detroit ) says:

    Dumping Mr. Blankenship would be O.K. just for starters. Just a beginning, though . Even though Don may think it’s all about him , it surely isn’t. Not then, not now ,and not even when they show him the exit.

    Massey may well try it as a down payment on a ‘closed door ‘ investigation, though. Kind of a trade. Or a last ditch insurance policy for them. ” We’ll give up Don, you go easy on us… ”

    If it was me , I’d put an ankle bracelet on Don to make sure he can be swiftly retrieved for open public testimony under oath. Ex-CEO or not.

  4. Anne Gentry says:

    How about arresting him for negligent homicide? Or a RICCO violation if it shows he and other mine operators got together to fight violations so they wouldn’t have to fix the problems while under appeal? I hope the miners sue Massey and put them out of business if the company refuses to dump Blankenship. He is an evil man.

  5. James says:

    They appeal the fines but still have to address the issues (massey loves to say they addressed most of the issues within one day). They don’t appeal the citations so they don’t have to fix things – they do it because they don’t want MSHA to say there is a pattern of violations (which steps up inspections).

  6. Don says:

    I can’t recall a case where a shareholder resolution went anywhere. Boards of directors tend to be stacked and the majority of shares are voted using proxies given to the board members.

  7. Walter Price says:

    Anne Gentry is rightk, it is time for the justice department to READ ITS NAME JUSTICE.

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