Hostess Brands acknowledged for the first time in a news report Monday that the company diverted workers’ pension money for other company uses.
The bankrupt baker told The Wall Street Journal that money taken out of workers’ paychecks, intended for their retirement funds, was used for company operations instead. Hostess, which was under different management at the time the diversions began in August 2011, said it does not know how much money it took.
“It’s not a good situation to have,” Hostess CEO Gregory Rayburn told the WSJ.
“Whatever the circumstances were, whatever those decisions were, I wasn’t there,” Rayburn added. As the founder and owner of Kobi Partners, a restructuring advisory firm, Rayburn was appointed acting CEO in March 2012.
Hostess Brands, which filed for bankruptcy for a second time in January, started liquidating its operations in November after the bakers’ union refused to take another pay cut and went on strike. The liquidation will leave about 18,000 workers without jobs.
In November, a judge approved Hostess’ plan to pay $1.8 million in bonuses to 19 executives, according to CNBC. Rayburn declined to take a bonus but also avoided a company-wide pay cut that he imposed, Hostess told HuffPost.
Twinkies are unlikely to go extinct, since Hostess is in talks with 110 buyers about its brands. But the snack cake genre may need a revamp, as Americans have become increasingly health- and quality-conscious.