Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010 | 4:44 p.m.
Republican Sue Lowden’s company gave her husband a $200,000 bonus last year — bringing the couple’s combined paycheck to nearly $1 million — even as it slashed more than 100 jobs and eliminated the employee savings match, according to an annual report.
Lowden, the Republican Senate hopeful, and her husband, Paul Lowden, own Archon Corp., which runs the Pioneer Hotel & Gambling Hall in Laughlin.
As many have in this economy, the business struggled last year, according to its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company cut its workforce by 25 percent in 2009, eliminating 106 jobs and doing away with the company match for employees’ 401(k) savings plans. The savings plan was costing the company $67,000 a year.
The Lowdens’ salaries combined totaled $929,000 — including a $200,000 bonus to be paid in biweekly installments to Paul Lowden through fiscal 2010. The couple were also compensated for their cars and household services.
Lowden is seeking to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this fall, and the Reid campaign seized on her business dealings to dismiss her campaign’s tagline that “fighting for your job is my job.”
“So much for all the talk about being a ‘job creator,’” Reid’s campaign said.
“After claiming that job creation is her top priority, Lowden owes her former employees an explanation why their jobs were worth less than her husband’s massive bonus,” said Reid campaign manager Brandon Hall.
Lowden has used her credentials as a businesswoman as a cornerstone of her campaign in what is shaping up as a tough Republican primary for the chance to run against Reid. Lowden and former UNLV basketball star Danny Tarkanian are leading a field of Republican contenders heading into the June primary.
At a forum earlier this month, Lowden said, “I am a businesswoman and for a couple of decades now I’ve made payroll every day and that separates me from the folks up here on the dais.”
Lowden’s campaign said Reid was launching another attack on her front-runner status and questioned how many pay raises he has received on the taxpayers’ dime.
“Harry Reid has been living off the Nevada taxpayer his entire adult life,” Lowden said. “My husband and I are proud to have created thousands of private sector jobs in Nevada’s leading economic industry.”
While her husband received the $200,000 bonus for two years in a row, Lowden said he had not received a salary increase since 1996 and had turned down additional stock options. Her pay has steadily increased. She said both she and her husband are philanthropists who give to Nevada charities.