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Simon says court should dismiss CEO pay case

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Simon Property Group Inc., the biggest U.S. owner of shopping malls, told a Delaware judge that an investor lawsuit over executive pay should be thrown out now that the company has rewritten the compensation plan.

The Louisiana Municipal Police Employees Retirement System sued Indianapolis-based Simon Property and its board in August 2012, claiming they wrongly amended a 1998 stock incentive plan by awarding CEO David Simon a long-term package with a $1.25 million annual salary, a 200-percent bonus and $120 million in incentive payments.

Delaware Chancery Court Judge J. Travis Laster in Wilmington Tuesday held off on making an immediate decision in the case after hearing arguments from the company and the pension fund.

In a letter last month to Laster, David Simon’s lawyer Donald J. Wolfe Jr. said the company’s stock incentive plan had been revised and approved by the board.

“We think it’s completely resolved,” Lewis R. Clayton, a lawyer for the directors, told Laster Tuesday. “The plaintiffs have won.”

The pension fund wants the case to continue.

“There is still relief we can get,” said Stuart Grant, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. The company could be compelled to make more disclosures, he said.

Simon Property has interests in 325 properties in North America, Europe and Asia, with 5,500 U.S. employees.

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