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Who really has the time to read every page of the annual and quarterly reports of every company they're interested in? Personally, I try to keep up with my top investments, but even for those, it's difficult to sift through the extra appendices, footnotes, and proxy statements that often accompany these already outrageously long reports.
However, it's in the extra fine print that you often find the most interesting tidbits of a company's activities. That might be where you first would have read about John Thain, formerly of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) , and his spending more than a million dollars on his own personal office. Or maybe you would have found out that Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE ) , recipient of billions in TARP bailout funds, gave its new CFO a $1.95 million bonus -- just for signing up for the job.
A great website, www.footnoted.org, keeps track of some of the most outrageous and unimaginable statements out there. Today they announced the worst footnote of 2009. And the winner is ... Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK ) ! I urge you to go to their website to read the full disclosure, but here's a short excerpt:
"Voting for the worst footnote of 2009 ended last night and footnoted readers have chosen the disclosure by Chesapeake Energy that it had spent $12.1 million to purchase Chairman and CEO Aubrey McClendon's antique map collection."
Scroll down toward the bottom of the page for more interesting morsels on company transactions with Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S ) and how the deal went down between Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A ) (NYSE: BRK-B ) and Burlington Northern (NYSE: BNI ) .
Fools -- what's the most outrageous footnote you've ever read? Sound off in the comments below!