Real estate employees get $10M in bonuses
WASHINGTON — Hardly anyone knew what was inside the red envelopes handed out at a Maryland real estate firm’s annual holiday party. So when employees at St. John Properties tore them open this month, the surprise was palpable.
Eyebrows jumped. Hands flew to mouths. And tears flowed — lots and lots of them.
Inside the envelopes were holiday bonuses averaging $50,000 and totaling $10 million, life changing sums based solely on tenure. One man, a maintenance technician who started at the company in 1981, received more than $200,000.
“I was in shock,” Stanley Ches told the “Today” show. “I’m still in shock. Everybody was shaking me down and giving me hugs.”
The unusually high bonuses drew a rush of attention to the Baltimore-based firm, which has clients in eight states. After announcing them publicly last week, the company’s phones rang continuously.
The story continued making headlines. St. John Properties’ offices kept buzzing with excitement.
“I just hope other companies look at this and realize that the employees are who they are,” company President Larry Maykrantz told The Washington Post.
Executives wanted to do something big to celebrate hitting a goal set in 2005: developing 20-millionsquare feet of commercial space.
They considered bonuses totaling $1 million, $2 million and $5 million, founder and chairman CEO Edward St. John said in a video released by the company, “and I looked at the numbers and they just didn’t impress me.”
Employees react after St. John Properties surprised them with bonuses totaling $10 million Dec. 7 in Baltimore.