Daniel Snyder’s Six Flags Gets Delisted by NYSE

Times is tough. We all know it. And when the recession is hitting the economy so hard that the most famous amusement park chain in the country might go into bankruptcy proceedings, it’s a dark day. We can’t even sell fun, people! Sad faces everywhere.

Abandoned Roller Coaster
(Snyder quickly offered the roller coaster $40 million over 6 years.)

And so with a stock price well under a quarter, Six Flags is suspended from trading at the New York Stock Exchange, according to the LA TIMES. Incidentally, the Chairman of the Board at Six Flags is one Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins. Should bankruptcy be the call, Snyder’s stake in the company will probably be wiped out, which can’t be good news for the ‘Skins - how good do you think Clinton Portis is feeling about that deferred compensation now?

But there’s a deeper sports connection here, one that’s far more unsettling and unfair. Because according to BLOOMBERG, while shareholders are getting taken to the cleaners, the CEO - a former sports figure - is set to collect a handsome sum of money from the proceedings under an apparently unironically-named “success bonus”:

Six Flags Inc., the U.S. theme-park owner facing possible bankruptcy, set a $3 million “success bonus” for Chief Executive Officer Mark Shapiro, to be awarded if the company restructures its debt out of court or goes through Chapter 11 reorganization.

The bonus is part of an employment agreement with Shapiro extended through April 1, 2013, Six Flags said in a regulatory filing yesterday.

Hardcore ESPN fans probably recognize Shapiro’s name; he was the executive VP of programming for the WWL before Snyder hired him away three years ago. We’re not particularly sure why; Shapiro had never run an amusement park company before, and his stint at ESPN mainly consisted of the Stephen A. Smith hiring and all those movies that sucked. (No offense, Barry Pepper, but we just never felt that “All I wanna do is race, daddy” business.)

Once at Six Flags, though, Shapiro turned everything around and brought peace and prosperity to the world. Why, just look at his track record of success:

Six Flags hasn’t posted a profit since 1998. The New York- based company faces bankruptcy if it fails to restructure $287.5 million in Preferred Income Equity Redeemable Shares, or PIERS, plus accrued dividends, before a mandatory Aug. 15 redemption.

The stock plunged 88 percent in the last year.

You’re doing a heckuva job, Shappie!

Really, though, this is just classic Snyder. Sees a piece of overrated talent, wildly overpays for him, and watches him demolish any hope of sustained success. It worked for Adam Archuleta, Brandon Lloyd, Jason Taylor, and Deion Sanders; Why not add Shapiro’s name to the mix?