Excessive HTA Compensation

Excessive HTA Compensation

Postby Shareholder » Sun May 30, 2010 6:13 pm

Is it just me or should we all be concerned with excessive compensation packages being paid to executives
who are rewarded regardless of the performance of the REIT. I read the 10K on Healthcare Trust of America and was floored by the section title “termination without cause”. If you move the office 35 miles out of Scottsdale, AZ – Scott Peters receives over $11m. If I had this contract – I would be packed and have the moving van ready to go.

In looking at the REIT – it has had the poorest FFO coverage and excessive fees, so who is winning here – mgt or shareholders? I was told by my broker this group also managed Golf Trust of America – which rewarded mgt and shareholder got hurt.

I recently found someone who looked into the 10K - click on the link below.

http://rationalrealist.blogspot.com

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Re: Excessive HTA Compensation

Postby REIT Wrecks » Tue Jun 01, 2010 2:36 am

It's actually worse than what the Rational Realist reports: based on Healthcare Trust of America's own reported FFO of $28.3 million, the dividend to shareholders was 62% in the hole. How can the board possibly justify a 50% increase in Peters' base salary given this pathetic, deeply negative dividend coverage?

One of the excuses given by the board is that Peters helped shepherd HTA from external management to internal management [Update: see the comments that follow - the internalization now looks like a complete sham]. In this case, shareholders did not actually have to pay to internalize the manager (which eliminates the poorly aligned external management structure), but the internalization occured (as usual) only after the HTA's advisor affiliate had already gorged shareholders to death with fees. As Green Street Advisors puts it, by the time the internalization occurs "the fox has already left the hen house and shareholder value has been eaten up."

In reality, Peters presided over a REIT that approved almost $40 million in acquisition fees paid to its affiliate advisor, and now the board is rewarding him for taking three long years to recognize that this is robbery? Is the board asleep, incompetent, conflicted - or all three??

For his incredibly keen economic insight, the board also awarded Peters 100,000 shares per year for the next three years, plus dividends. So let's be direct: the CEO was rewarded with a 50% jump in base salary, plus a truckload of equity grants and dividends, based in part on the "financial strength of the Company," but shareholders are left with a portfolio that is not even close to supporting the dividend on any measurable basis. Sadly, in the perverse world of non-traded REITs, that actually sounds about right!

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Re: Excessive HTA Compensation

Postby Shareholder » Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:25 pm

Why would the HTA board give the president and CEO (Scott Peters) $1m retention bonus for such poor performance? Do they think he will be recruited away? Do they think they could not find another candidate to fill the position?

I would think this would be a blessing to all the shareholders of this REIT if he was replaced.

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Re: Excessive HTA Compensation

Postby REIT Wrecks » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:44 pm

Shareholder wrote:Why would the HTA board give the president and CEO (Scott Peters) $1m retention bonus for such poor performance?


The board doesn't care about you, and neither does Peters. Except for one, the board was handpicked by Peters from the start. The relocation package is a poison pill.

Vote them out.

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Re: Excessive HTA Compensation

Postby ipfreely » Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:34 am

REIT Wrecks,

I received today, like many that follow Healthcare Trust of America’s (HTA) SEC releases, a notice of an 8-K filing. There were actually two filings. The first was an explanation of amendments made to the Amended and Restated 2006 Plan (The Plan), and the second was a copy of the modified plan. I’m not a financial statement expert or a lawyer; so making sense of all the legalese in these filings is beyond the purpose of my writing and capabilities.

However, if I read the filing correctly, another 8,000,000 shares have been added to the compensation plan as defined by the Plan. They state that 300% more shares were added, ”to increase the number of shares authorized to be issued pursuant to the Plan and for other purposes.” That’s another $80,000,000 in compensation to a very small group of executives in addition to the already 2,000,000 shares in place. Voted on by a Compensation Board comprised of at least one former associate of Mr. Peters, a Mr. Brad Blair of the famed and failed Golf Trust of America.

I suppose that these additions to the shares would be OK if this was some other REIT (maybe), a better performing one, but this isn’t some other REIT. This is HTA, a REIT where they already have one of the most exorbitant compensation packages in place to begin with as you have documented.

All that’s needed for this cash cow to come home and roost is a “change of control” as defined by the Plan; whereby, Scott Peters and his execs can “resign for good reason” and collect their payday. Couple this filing with the fact that the REIT just closed it’s offering period not but days ago and the 8-K was filed within days of noted healthcare mergers, Piping Rock Partners, so needless to say, I’m a little suspicious.

Up to this point the REITs performance has been mediocre at best, as they have begun to cover their paid distribution. However, they have a substantial amount of debt do this year and I have tried like hell to get my wholesaler in here to explain to me what they intend to due, i.e. extend the loans, refinance, etc.

Bottom line, I’m wondering if you’re seeing what I’m seeing—somethin’ fishy going on at HTA.

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Re: Excessive HTA Compensation

Postby REIT Wrecks » Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:47 pm

IPF -- I hope you'll excuse my delayed response. I have been washing ever since I read your post, but there is not enough soap in the world to wash the stink off this latest maneuver. According to HTA's hypocritical Letter to Stockholders dated January 27, 2011, the Healthcare Trust of America "model places our company and shareholders first," but given Peters's new, even more lucrative compensation plan, I don't see how this could possibly be the case.

On the housekeeping front, when you said that you had "tried like hell to get my wholesaler in here to explain," I'm assuming you called your wholesaler at Realty Capital Securities? As you know, as part of the 2009 management internalization, HTA transitioned to RCS as dealer manager, so if you're calling someone at Grubb & Ellis (nee NNN), they're probably not going to return your calls.

No matter who you talk to, I'd love to hear your translation of how they justify this. Absent the management internalization, which looked good on its surface, this new compensation plan is just the latest in a long line of self-serving decisions by Peters and his board cronies. As you know, never in its lifetime has Healthcare Trust of America covered its 7.25% dividend -- either from cash flow OR Funds From Operations. In fact, over its lifetime, HTA has paid dividends that were almost double the cash flow produced by its portfolio.

How did HTA achieve this financial alchemy? Simple -- they paid it using borrowed money, and a lot of shareholder cash that was meant to be invested in real estate. Through the first 9 months of 2010 alone, 41% of the dividend was funded with DEBT, not earnings. In essence, the board allowed management to use shareholder cash as a sales tool -- go ahead Scott, just cut a few thousand checks, call it a dividend, and use that 7.25% "return" to sell more of your silly stock. Of course, it also helps to have no transparent market for the shares, no independent analysts covering the company, and a bunch of regulators who will blindly bless the whole pile of turd.

As I have said over and over again in various comments on this forum, to the extent that dividends are paid in excess of cash flow, it results in immediate and irreparable harm to shareholders. To the extent that this is done as a matter of policy over a long period of time, shareholders are simply screwed.

In the sorry case of HTA, this reckless dividend policy contributed to an almost .75/share decline in book value over the course of just twelve months (from $7.71 in Q3 2009 to $6.98 as of Q3 2010), despite the fact that FFO increased by over 200% during the same period. In other words, HTA bought a lot of fancy looking real estate, but they weren't too careful about how much they paid for it, and it didn't even come close to being accretive.

In the warped world of non-traded REITs, the common excuse for this ridiculously poor performance is that the REIT needs time to "ramp up" and that after the "acquisition phase" a mature REIT will eventually cover its dividend. However, almost without exception, this is hardly ever true. HTA, which is now more than four years old, is a pathetic case in point.

Which brings me back to your original question: do I see what you see -- somethin' fishy going on at HTA?

Of course I do. At this point, the management internalization looks like nothing more than a change in control from one group of greedy insiders (Grubb, Andrea Biller, who indirectly owned 5% of the advisor, and Danny Prosky) to another group of greedy insiders (Peters and his obsequious board of directors). How else to explain the jump in Peters's base salary from $160,000/year to $500,000, and then one year later from $500,000/year to $750,000/year, almost immediately after the "internalization" occurred?

This is an increase in base salary of more than 300% within eighteen months --- and this doesn't even include the stock grants. Almost simultaneously, Peters was awarded an additional $1,000,000 per year in equity grants (for three years), which also entitled him to dividend income on the shares (totaling $217,500/year after the third year). Separately, Peters was awarded another $1 million worth of shares as part of a "retention" package, followed by the $11 million award contingent on the company's lack of proximity to the financial capital of Scottsdale, Arizona. And now comes this new, even more more lucrative stock grant. Eight million shares? Good grief!

The whole sham would be completely laughable if there weren't so many shareholders being fleeced in the process. Amazingly, among the reasons cited by the board for Peters's compensation largesse were the "quality of new acquisitions completed by the Company," the Company's "increasing distribution coverage," and "the overall financial strength and growth of the Company." Whose financial statements could the board have been reading, do you think?

They certainly couldn't have been looking at HTA's flimsy income statement and balance sheet. If so, how is it possible to miss the fact that almost 50% of HTA's dividend is being funded with debt, the fact that HTA had $178MM in short-term, variable rate debt maturing in 2011 (only $82MM of which had been addressed as of Q3 2010), and the fact that the Company's book value is heading south like a flock of warblers in December?

So,...getting closer to your "fishy" question - the noted healthcare merger you refer to is the Ventas's acquisition of Nationwide Health Properties ("NHP") in an all stock deal worth $7.4 billion. This was only the most recent in a number of large Health care REIT deals this year and last. The Ventas/NHP deal, which was surely the largest, was announced on February 28th, and JP Morgan acted as NHP's financial advisor. Most significantly, in August of 2010, JP Morgan was also engaged as HTA's "lead strategic advisor in exploring actions to maximize shareholder value, including the assessment of various liquidity options." In English, this means JP Morgan was hired to sell the company, either through an IPO or an M&A transaction.

Thus, given JP Morgan's involvement in the sale of both NHP and HTA, I would be very surprised if Peters and the HTA board were not extremely well tuned in to the possibility that HTA could be purchased by a more shareholder-friendly outfit, complete with a board that actually took its fiduciary duty to shareholders seriously. My guess is that this obscenely large stock grant was simply one more way to ensure that Peters got another swipe at the HTA honey pot if that happened. My further guess is that Ventas and others took a good look at HTA via JP Morgan, and Peters and the board knew it.

BTW, here's how that math would work, assuming all 10 million shares vest at $10/share upon a change in control. Assuming further that the 191,483,220 shares that HTA reported outstanding as of 11/11/2010 remains the same, the $100 million would be a land grab equal to .52/share by Peters and the board, yet they have absolutely no cash invested in the REIT and therefore no risk - unlike the real shareholders whom Peters happens to work for (but he obviously thinks it's the other way around). Bottom line: this obscenely large stock grant looks just like that hugely dilutive internalization fee that was supposed to have been eliminated when Peters kicked out the crew from Grubb & Ellis....talk about smoke and mirrors!

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Re: Excessive HTA Compensation

Postby GeorgiaGulf » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:39 pm

This would appear to be the same Scott Peters who bailed out as CEO of Grubb & Ellis as the firm began to implode. Grubb is now shopping itself, and it's market cap is now south of $70 million. Grubb's many implosions would fill this website up with horror stories.

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Re: Excessive HTA Compensation

Postby PEtrader » Thu May 24, 2012 7:52 pm

This is probably one of the worst examples of poor mgmt by a REIT in the history of NTR. I am sorry for any investors out there whose advisors were stupid enough to not dig in on this.

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Re: Excessive HTA Compensation

Postby GratianHarris » Sat Oct 12, 2013 11:37 pm

Under the scenario that these shareholder-employees take $100,000 in distributions rather than a $100,000 salary, they would not pay taxes on distributions and avoid $13,300 of employment taxes.

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Re: Excessive HTA Compensation

Postby dawid70 » Tue Dec 17, 2013 3:47 am

Thanks for sharing the information. I found the information very helpful.

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