Former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon parlayed his notoriety into a gig as a bank director. In hindsight, McMahon presumably wishes he’d passed.
McMahon is now on the wrong end of a lawsuit filed by the FDIC seeking $104 million that was lost as a result of 17 bad loans. And the feds apparently plan to make an example of McMahon, in the hopes that others who perceive bank directorship as a money-for-nothing proposition will realize that it’s a much more solemn and serious undertaking.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the FDIC accuses McMahon of trying to “duck responsibility” for the failed loans, relying on the notion that he was only a “figurehead” in a failed bank that others had caused to fail. The feds argue that the problems for McMahon arose because he believed that he could simply serve in that role as a “figurehead.”
“Defendant McMahon’s conduct is a paradigm case for director negligence,” the court filing states. “He appears to have approved loans he was told to approve without questioning. He received critical regulatory reports but did nothing in response. He did not read bank status reports; he missed many meetings. There is no substitute for the disciplined work required to be a responsible bank director. This is something that McMahon does not acknowledge or appear to understand.”
While the decision of other bank directors to want McMahon to serve makes sense, given that his involvement could attract business, McMahon’s situation provides a clear warning for any other celebrity who may be offered a similar role. It’s not an endorsement deal; it’s real work, with real responsibilities.
And, quite possibly, real consequences that can’t be rectified simply by mooning someone.