"I thought I'd learn from this guy," Monaghan explained. "I listened to him talk for hours about how brilliant he is. I'd sit there and listen and listen and listen. I was a very patient man because I wanted to learn. I wanted to take the next step for the company."
"Russ deliberately created a mystique about his role," Monaghan wrote in his autobiography, "and I have to admit that I was mesmerized by it. After he'd been on the job six months, I boosted his salary to $25,000 a year [the equivalent of $127,000 today]. To show my appreciation for the outstanding performance he turned in, I bought him a used Rolls-Royce as a company car."
But being president wasn't enough for Hughes. "One Friday morning," Monaghan wrote, "he came into my office and said he had something important to discuss with me. I canceled all my appointments, and he spent the entire day and part of the night outlining his plan for a leveraged buyout of the company by himself and his friends. He said he was giving me a unique opportunity."
It was unique. Hughes and his friends wouldn't pay Monaghan anything up front. Instead, they promised to send him a check every month for the rest of his life. Monaghan asked him his plans for Domino's, and Hughes told him he'd dump the franchisees and keep only corporate stores.