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A&P execs received millions before bankruptcy, records show

The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., also

The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., also known as A&P, operates food stores under several names, including Pathmark and Waldbaum's on Long Island. The company filed for bankruptcy protection on July 19, 2015. Above, a sign outside an A&P store in Wall Township, N.J. Credit: AP / Mel Evans

Less than three months before the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. filed for bankruptcy, five top A&P executives had $6 million deposited into a special trust held expressly for them, according to court records.

Those five executives, along with six other current and former directors and officers of Montvale, New Jersey-based A&P, received a total of more than $12.5 million in salaries, holiday pay, bonuses, expense reimbursements, car allowances, consulting fees and other payments from July 2014 until the A&P bankruptcy filing this July, according to a 452-page revised financial statement filed late Wednesday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains.

A spokeswoman for A&P, which operates Waldbaum's and Pathmark on Long Island, declined to comment Friday. But union representatives and employees, who have quarreled with A&P over workers' severance payments and retiree benefits, objected to the payments.

A&P board chairman Greg Mays received $4.6 million in consulting fees and other payments during the year before the bankruptcy filing, including a $2.5 million payment in April into the special trust for a consulting company he owns, documents show.

Another $1.5 million each in trust payments was set aside for chief executive Paul Hertz and chief administrative officer Christopher McGarry. Hertz and McGarry each received $225,000 bonuses in February.

Senior vice president and chief financial officer Tim Carnahan and chief strategy officer Nirup Krishnamurthy each received a trust payment of $250,000. Carnahan also received a $50,000 bonus in February.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union said Friday it will work with other interested parties on the recovery of the bonus funds.

"It is exceptionally disappointing to hear that A&P executives enjoyed millions in bonuses while steering the company towards bankruptcy," UFCW International said in a statement. "Meanwhile, the people most affected by this bankruptcy, the hardworking men and women who work within closing stores, are being asked to sacrifice and accept reduced severance."

Last month, a federal bankruptcy judge said A&P should make severance payments to laid-off workers of 52 percent of the severance amount stipulated in union contracts for each year of work.

"We keep getting things taken from us and they are rewarding themselves for ruining the company," said Laura, an employee at Waldbaum's in Stony Brook who declined to give her last name.

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