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Don’t cry for Chuck Greenberg: he’s walking away with a $25 million profit

Mar 11, 2011, 4:35 PM EDT

Texas Rangers v New York Yankees, Game 5 Getty Images

This morning I said that, having been booted out of the Rangers ownership chair he fought so hard to claim, Chuck Greenberg will never get the last year and a half of his life back.  Bob Nightengale puts this in perspective, however:

It may have been tough for Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg to step down,but will leave with $20 million to $25 million profit, easing pain

So he’s got that going for him. Which is nice.  And to be honest, yeah, I think I’d take a year and a half of ugly litigation if there were two and a half units waiting for me on the other side.

Oh, “what’s a unit” you ask?  I had a client tell me once that Texas oil men of the 1970s boom years referred to $10 million as “a unit.”  And the idea was that, in those circles, you weren’t really rich until “you made your first unit.”  Those without a unit need not apply to the boy’s club. Ahem.

I’ve never had corroboration of this — the guy could have been putting me on — but I’ve passed along that bit of trivia at enough cocktail parties that even if it isn’t true, I’m hoping that it one day enters into the realm of lesser slang.

  1. bloodysock - Mar 11, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    I’ve got a unit.

    • pauleee - Mar 11, 2011 at 5:46 PM

      I think the word you’re looking for is “eunuch”.

  2. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Mar 11, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    Even “units” are bigger in Texas…although, don’t forget Texas, every may be bigger there, but that also includes douche bags.

  3. apbaguy - Mar 11, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    Let’s start the weekend political ball rolling:

    Greenberg will only pay 15% tax on that $20M, as a “long-term capital investment”.
    Wisconsin teachers, or should I say “union thugs”, as described by Fox News’ Michelle Malkin, are living “lavishly” on $ 51K per year, plus benefits, and pay in the 25% bracket.
    Raising the capital gains rate to the Clinton-era 25% would generate $2M on this transaction alone.
    It will require the freeze on annual pay of 1110 Federal workers to match the impact to the US Treasury of the $2M Greenberg realized in extra gains (over the Clinton years) on this single transaction.

    Discuss.

    • Old Gator - Mar 11, 2011 at 10:10 PM

      Michelle Malkin joins Linda Tripp, Jan Brewer, Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter as the finalists in the Miss Repulsive America pageant. What a miserable hag. In the Miss Ugly American pageant, of course, Brewer is in a class by herself, a perfect confluence of inner and outer repugnance: Medusa with tubifex instead of snake hair.

      As for Greenberg, though, I could slide down a sluice greased with two and half units with no problem. Of course, my Donzi custom bluewater fishing boat would be waiting for me at the bottom….

    • detiger69 - Mar 11, 2011 at 10:37 PM

      Or how about the luck Hank and Hal Steinbrenner had in having George die when the estate tax was eliminated. The Yankees are valued at around 1.6 Billion by Forbes. Had there been an estate tax, it would have more than covered the entire defict Wisconsin is facing. Better still, the Yankees considered Cliff Lee’s talents over 6 years more valuable than everything Wisconsin is cutting to cover that deficit. Yes I realize Wisconsin wouldn’t have gotten any of the money from an estate tax on the Yankees. It is simply an example of the twisted value we places on peolpes “talents”.

  4. missthemexpos - Mar 11, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    Maybe Drew Rosenhaus can start using this terminology for his free agents next year. How could any GM turn down the chance of signing one of Drew’s outstanding players for say only 2 units per year over 6 or 7 years. This would certainly bring many more mystery teams into the bidding.

  5. Glenn - Mar 11, 2011 at 11:38 PM

    Based on the number of thumbs down on some of the comments, it looks like a lot of multi-millionaires read this blog. Thumb down on the rabble, or should we say 98% of the country.

  6. nyyankeefanforever - Mar 12, 2011 at 2:50 AM

    Your source on the “unit” concept is correct, Craig. The federal tax code has, since the better part of the last century (basically, since antitrust laws were implemented ) placed an historical threshold of “10 percent on the first $10 million” on both corporate and personal income for taxation purposes. That threshold long ago became a standard boilerplate inclusion in most large corporate and personal services contracts which, in the present day, you can find are aimed at calculating revenue accruing to (among others) movie stars who eschew salaries for “points” in a film’s profits, and executives of large corporations who (owing to the threshold) are recruited and renumerated largely through a compensation structure relying chiefly upon nonsalary bonuses. The $10 million figure is referred to, on second and subsequent references in all such contracts, as “units.” It’s a vocabulary word known and used commonly by another class besides us.

    Charlie Sheen has even used it a couple times in some of his recent rants in this vein, and I found it amusing the Hollywood media covering his insanity has not picked up on it — for fear, I’ve imagined, of showing their lack of familiarity with the biz lingo to their colleagues.

    Oh btw, nice post and good riddance to Greenberg. He was all hat and no cattle, to borrow the Lone Star vernacular.

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