Family members and friends of those who lost loved ones in the crash of a Boeing 737 MAX 8 in Ethiopia have petitioned Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to withhold CARES Act financial assistance from Boeing unless the money is conditioned upon aviation safety and corporate governance reform.
Some 1,744 family members and friends of the 157 who died in the Flight ET302 crash on March 10, 2019, signed the petition. They stated that the $17 billion CARES Act allotment set aside for companies important to “national security” should not assist Boeing without further strings attached.
The petition, submitted Friday, April 17, 2020, reads that those who signed believe that Boeing does not enter the pandemic crisis with clean hands. Instead, they “suffered the consequences of the mismanagement of the Boeing Company. … No financial assistance should be given to Boeing without (1) improving aviation safety so Boeing no longer self certifies the safety of its own aircraft, and (2) overhauled corporate governance that puts safety and innovative engineering first and shareholders last.”
Among the signatories were several clients of Clifford Law Offices in Chicago, an internationally recognized aviation firm in Chicago. Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner of the firm, represents families of 68 victims in the crash and was appointed lead counsel of the litigation currently pending in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
“It’s no question that these families feel that safety was not a priority to Boeing,” Clifford said. “They want to make sure that this company does not receive federal bailout money until there are assurances that this will not happen to any other families as Boeing moves forward with construction of its aircraft.”
“If Boeing had balanced the interests of quality and safety properly with executive compensation and Wall Street Interests, the company would still be trusted as a brand and as a great manufacturer. It would be financially strong when facing the COVID-19 crisis,” said Michael Stumo, father of Samya Rose Stumo who was killed in the tragic crash.
Congress enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the “CARES Act” on March 27. It is a $2 trillion federal stimulus 880-page law providing financial relief to businesses and workers in the U.S.
Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who resigned from Boeing’s board in protest, is among the critics of any type of bailout for the aviation giant. “While I know cash is tight, that is equally true for numerous other industries and for millions of small businesses,” Haley said in her resignation letter. “I cannot support a move to lean on the federal government for a stimulus or bailout that prioritizes our company over others and relies on taxpayers to guarantee our financial position. I have long held strong convictions that this is not the role of government.”
Boeing said in a March 17 statement that at least $60 billion in aid would be needed to support the aerospace manufacturing industry in the pandemic crisis.
For further information, please contact Clifford Law Offices Communications Partner Pamela Sakowicz Menaker at 847-721-0909 (cell).