Saturday, September 24, 2011

Phil has left the building

Phil LoBue, the taxpayer in the famous Supreme Court stock option case, was reportedly quite a character.  He was born in Sicily and lived in Leonia, New Jersey, across the river from the Big Apple, where he worked.  One of his proteges in the sales industry later wrote in a memoir that LoBue was "small, loud, and generous" and referred to himself as "the smallest Mafioso."  The colleague also wrote: "Before I left for my first trip to Europe, Phil had given me an envelope containing $100 with careful instructions where to spend it."  He didn't elaborate.

LoBue used to show up at various gatherings of chemical company executives, including a 1948 dinner put on by the New York Board of Trade (photo right).  He reportedly was a regular at the Chemists Club, a swanky industry hangout in midtown Manhattan.

Although employee stock options are often intended to engender company loyalty, it doesn't always work out that way.  Certainly it didn't with LoBue.  A February 3, 1947 story in the New York Times noted that Phil was leaving Michigan Chemical to start his own chemical sales firm.  As you may recall, LoBue exercised his options in 1946 and 1947, and so he wasn't an employee-stockholder of Michigan Chemical for long.

LoBue was born in 1901.  In 1931 he married Edna Reidel, who was five or six years younger than he.  The couple had two children, Bonnie Ann and Philip, both of whom are still alive and living in northern New Jersey.  They are 71 and 68, respectively.  Edna worked for 14 years as a secretary for the comptroller of AT&T.

The elder LoBue -- the taxpayer in the famous case -- died in 1970, at age 68.  Edna remarried and outlived her second husband as well.  She died in 2008 in New Jersey at the age of 101.

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