News & Features » News

Recalculating Eisner's big score


In December Disney CEO Michael Eisner cashed in stock options to boost his pay to more than $575 million. But what if the stock's meteoric rise was tied to earnings statements that were based on Mickey Mouse accounting practices?

In a March 23 story for Barron's, accountant Abraham Briloff contends that Disney used creative accounting following its $19 billion purchase of Capital Cities/ABC to form a $2.5 billion slush fund. Disney then plowed these funds into its balance sheets as "profits," Briloff contends, creating the false impression that the company saw a 25 percent earnings gain in 1997 (where normal accounting would have yielded less than 10 percent), and a double-digit growth in the quarter ending in December, when the real growth was more like zero.

These figures helped the stock to soar, presumably inflating the stock that boosted Eisner's net worth. Difference between the actual exercised stock value and an estimated $75 per share price (a figure midway between the $58 of two years ago and the $108 of today): $110 million.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.