Just how much money did Chairman Bob Eaton and other Chrysler executives take out of the acquisition/merger?

Boy, is that a sore subject.

The Aug. 6 Form F-4 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, contains a detailed explanation of the compensation for Mr. Eaton, retired Vice Chairman Robert A. Lutz, President Thomas T. Stallkamp, Chief Financial Officer Gary C. Valade and Executive Vice President for Manufacturing Dennis K. Pawley.

Each received a cash payment ranging downward from Mr. Eaton's $3.7 million to Mr. Pawley's $944,372. Each also received new shares in the newly formed company in a number reflecting the number of shares for which they were eligible at Chrysler. Those reflected performance-based grants and options. The SEC filing calculated avalue of the stock based on an assumption that Chrysler stock would be trading at $65.71 when the deal was complete.

Consequently, Mr. Eaton's stock then had a hypothetical value of $66.2 million. The stock market hit a patch of turbulence in September and October. By the end of October, Chrysler stock was trading at about $48 a share. That reduced Mr. Eaton's stock to $48.4 million, a healthy sum to be sure, but significantly less than what it seemed to be worth three months earlier.

"The stock is not a heck of a lot different than it was before we announced this thing," says Mr. Eaton. "We are getting zero that we didn't already have in the way of options. We don't end up with any options being extended.

"If the company does well, we'll do well," he says, "but there isn't any pot of gold for the people involved in this." O