UK lawmakers slam pricy payoff to BBC chief

By the Associated Press | December 20, 2012 | 6:33 AM EST

CORRECTS SPELLING OF SECOND NAME BBC Trust Chairman Lord Patten speaks during a press conference in response to The Pollard Report at New Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London Wednesday Dec. 19, 2012. Institutional chaos and confusion, but not a cover-up, were to blame for the BBC's disastrous handling of pedophilia allegations involving one of its best-known children's television personalities, an internal review found Wednesday. The review, carried out by former Sky News boss Nick Pollard, absolved BBC executives of trying to bury a potentially embarrassing story, saying that weak management and poor leadership were to blame for the fact that a planned expose about the late TV star, Jimmy Savile, never aired on the flagship "Newsnight" program. (AP Photo/Chris Radburn/Pool)

LONDON (AP) — A group of British lawmakers is accusing the BBC of being cavalier with taxpayers' money by paying 450,000 pounds ($730,000) in severance to its director-general when he quit after 54 days in the job.

Parliament's Public Accounts Committee says George Entwistle should not have been paid the sum, twice what he was entitled to. Entwistle stepped down last month over the BBC's disastrous handling of fallout from the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal.

The lawmakers said Thursday that "public servants should not be rewarded for failure."

Chris Patten, head of the BBC's governing trust, said Entwistle was paid off because the alternative would have been a lengthy and costly employment tribunal. But he said the BBC was seeking legal advice on whether it could get any of the money back.