The last guy to get screwed by WorldCom? Michael Jordan. His attorneys were in court on February 13 trying to collect on the $8 million owed to him from a $20 million, ten-year endorsement deal he signed with the ill-fated telecom in 1995. MCI, as WorldCom is now known, claimed that Jordan was an employee and is therefore as screwed as ordinary salarymen, whose 401(k)s lost over $1 billion in value in the company’s $11 billion bankruptcy in 2002. Judge Arthur Gonzalez ruled this wasn’t the case, pointing out that Jordan had to work just “sixteen hours a year ” (the italics are Gonzalez’s) to collect his $2 million annual check and never got the pension or health benefits you might expect an ordinary employee would. “The judge came to the right decision,” says Peter Lubitz, one of Jordan’s lawyers. “These guys never even gave him a parking space.” The next phase of the trial will involve MCI’s attempts to show that Jordan could have taken action to mitigate his financial loss, but didn’t.
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