I don’t mean this in a sarcastic way: does anyone have a reasonable explanation for a company paying crazy amounts of money to keep around the executives that drove the the company into the ground?

One veteran publishing executive whose company is an unsecured Borders creditor on Friday expressed frustration with the proposed bonuses but said that he felt the alternative would be even more expensive.

“The idea of retention bonuses are killing me, but you’d have to pay a king’s ransom for the next group,” said this person, who requested anonymity. “It irks me because it’s money that won’t go to paying creditors.” He added, “I want to see Borders come out of this. If they don’t have these guys, I don’t see a chance.”

A Borders spokeswoman said that “this is a proposed pay-enhancement program designed to retain key executives as we proceed through the Chapter 11 process.”