Real es­tate em­ploy­ees get $10M in bonuses

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - NATION & WORLD - By Brit­tany Sham­mas

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.”

ST. JOHN PROP­ER­TIES/WENDY HICKOK PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Em­ploy­ees re­act af­ter St. John Prop­er­ties sur­prised them with bonuses to­tal­ing $10 mil­lion Dec. 7 in Bal­ti­more.

St. John

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