Former Nalcor CEO Ed Martin releases severance agreement, details exit pay

Former Nalcor CEO Ed Martin has released documents that appear to support his claim that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador approved his controversial severance payment.
Ed Martin left Nalcor in April, and received a controversial severance payment worth about $1.4 million. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

Former Nalcor CEO Ed Martin has added more fuel to the political controversy surrounding his departure from the crown corporation in April.

Late Tuesday evening, Martin released documents that appear to support his claim that the province approved his controversial severance payment. He also detailed more information on his exit pay, revealing a multi-million payout from Nalcor.

"The board of directors of Nalcor has been advised by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador that in all circumstances it has agreed that (Martin) is entitled to his severance," reads a "settlement agreement" between Martin and Nalcor.

The agreement is dated April 20, the day Martin and Premier Dwight Ball held separate news conferences announcing the former CEO's departure.

Martin's latest release to the media comes just hours after the premier denied allegations he was personally involved in the former executive's severance deal. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Ball angrily called on Martin to release the agreement.

"I hope that someone will get their hands on this and get that out there publicly, we need it out there," Ball said. "But right now there's only one person that can put it out there and that is Mr. Martin himself."

Dwight Ball responds to Ed Martin's severance comments 4:18

Government objects

In response to Martin's revelations, the premier's office released a statement just after 1 a.m. Wednesday morning hitting back at the accusations, and again denying that the government approved the severance deal.

It released a letter sent by Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady to Nalcor, where she takes exception to the language in Martin's settlement agreement.

"These statements are not accurate," she wrote to the Nalcor board chair. "At no time did the government direct the former board of directors to how Mr. Martin's cessation of employment was to be treated under his contract."

The letter is dated May 10, before it became clear that Martin received his severance when the Nalcor board fired him "without cause."

"Government was instead advised of the decision to treat Mr. Martin as if he had been terminated, and to pay severance to Mr. Martin by the former chair … on April 20, after such a decision had already been made."

Nancy O'Connor, the premier's spokesperson, said that letter was "part of the package of information being prepared for the auditor general."

On Sunday, Ball asked the auditor general to lead an investigation into the severance affair.

$6-million payout

In a separate statement to media, Martin also detailed the full extent of his payout from Nalcor.

Along with his severance package, worth about $1.4 million, Martin received a lump-sum "supplemental executive retirement plan" payment of about $4.7 million.

"This type of pension plan is a standard piece of many executive arrangements, and has been provided in some cases to previous executives of (Newfoundland and Labrador) Hydro," Martin wrote.

He'll also get a public service pension plan, worth about $95,000 yearly.

Martin noted in his statement that all three payments were subject to income tax. He claimed that after taxes, he will receive about $3-million of his lump-sum payments.

Brewing controversy

The deepening scandal over Martin's departure from Nalcor has exploded this week, with Martin alleging the premier directly knew and approved of his severance package.

Martin's hefty severance deal has raised eyebrows in a province with a huge budget deficit and significant spending cuts on the way.

For his part, Ball has denied he was personally involved in the severance deal.

He says he became aware that Martin was fired on April 20, but didn't become aware of the specific details of the severance package until May 5 — one day after the media reported the $1.4-million figure.

Tuesday afternoon, Ball spoke directly, and angrily, denying Martin's claims and detailing the reasons for his departure.

"Simply I will tell you that we have integrity as well," he said. "I am just not going to stand idly by and watch people put out information and not respond to that."