In June 2009, as you may remember, Kenneth Feinberg was knighted Compensation Cop and given the authority to get involved in the payouts made to executives of 7 firms that received taxpayer bailouts. They included the biggest fuck-ups, who’d it’s be really bad to see generously compensating their top employees, like Citigroup, Bank of America, AIG. Goldman Sachs was not one of the companies required to get Feinberg’s approval on packages, but with the sensation of what it felt like to be strung up by the balls fresh in his mind, Lloyd Blankfein thought it’d be prudent to give the Comp Cop a buzz anyway, in a move that may surprise those who were previously under the impression Goldman didn’t answer to anyone.
“I had no jurisdiction over Goldman, but Goldman had me up there to see Blankfein four times,” Kenneth Feinberg, the administration’s former special master on executive compensation, said in an interview released yesterday by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.
“Ken, if we do it this way, if we only pay our people $600,000 cash, and any bonus that they get, they get in stock, and they won’t get it for five years, am I doing OK,” Feinberg said, recalling a conversation with Blankfein. “Yeah, you’re making some improvements, Lloyd. That’s good.”
Of course, LB was making the fisting gesture toward the speaker phone at the time, but still.