CNBC reports that the New York Court’s Appellate Division has thrown out a judgment that former NYSE Chairman Richard Grasso must return part of his $187.5 million compensation package, a ruling Charlie “LaMotta” Gasparino described as a “near TKO.” A spokesman for the attorney general’s office said that an appeal “would not be warranted” and “for all intents and purposes, the Grasso case is over.” In other Grasso-related legal news, a judge has adjourned the case against Frederick Grasso, the Lackawana animal control officer accused of killing three stray cats. Grasso’s arraignment has been moved to July 8.
Former NYSE chair Dick Grasso recently left a voicemail for Charlie Gasparino. Know what it said? “Happy holidays.” Why did this seemingly innocuous message scare the fuck out of Charlie, who takes no shit or prisoners, and who is known for yelling at/cutting off/berating his colleagues on air (especially Joe Kernen, but let’s face it, that guy has it coming) and leaning so far up into the camera that you feel as though he’s about to grab you by the collar, shove you up against the wall and demand to know where his “fucking money” is*? I don’t know, apparently it has something to do with a book he wrote calling the Grass-man a midget and implying that he has illegitimate children up and down the Eastern Seaboard. “It was a little scary,” Gasparino told Page Six. But looked himself in the mirror and said, “You’re fucking Charlie Gasparino, you don’t take no shit or prisoners, make the call.” And it turned out they “had a perfectly nice conversation.” Don’t you love happy endings between two boys from the old neighborhood?
Thick-skinned [New York Post]
*BTW, we’d like to see more of this dynamic style from CNBC’s on air-talent, especially from Trish Regan and Mark Haines, who would be naturals.
Charlie Gasparino’s new book is called King of the Club—a reference to its ostensible subject, Dick Grasso, who oversaw the triumphant comeback of New York Stock Exchange in the challenging days following the September 11th attacks but quickly found himself forced out and under fire from New York State’s Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer.
But reading the book makes it increasingly obvious that Spitzer himself could be called King of the Club for the brutal ways he treated the subjects of his investigations. Yesterday Page Six detailed one example of how Spitzer’s team attempted to pursue allegations of an extra-marital affair, presumably to embarrass Grasso or lure him into a perjury trap if he denied the allegations. But Gasparino’s book reveals that it didn’t stop there—indeed, this seems to have become standard operating procedure for Spitzer’s club.
[More on Spitzer's smear machine after the jump.]
via the E-man. [Crossing Wall Street]
In an interview today, former NYSE chair Dick Grasso told Bloomberg that the total costs of his lawsuit challenging his infamous compensation package maybe be over $100 million. But guess what? He doesn’t care. “What this case is about is honor,” Grasso offered, in what, oddly, sounded like an affected Italian accent. “It’s not about money anymore.” Grasso also told Bloomberg that “What we’re asking for is the right to go to trial, a trial by a jury of my peers, hopefully later this year. Once the whole story is told, my reputation will be vindicated and my case will be over turned.” We’re told that the following is a rough draft of the opening statement Grasso has prepared (to which we’ve added a few notes):
In the hopes of clearing my family name, in the sincere desire to give my children their fair share of the American way of life without a blemish on their name and background. I have appeared before this committee and given it all the cooperation [come on now—you’ve been pretty difficult along the way. Someone (Judge Ramos), and we’re not saying who (Judge Ramos) even told you “you are acting like a petulant child. Do petulant children get to keep $190 million compensation packages? I don’t think so, Mister"] in my power.
I consider my being called before this committee an act of prejudice to all Americans of Italian extraction. [That’s a bit of a stretch] I consider it a great dishonor to me personally to have to deny that I am a criminal. I wish to have the following noted for the record. That I served my country faithfully and honorably in World War II and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for actions in defense of my country. That I have never been arrested or indicted for any crime whatsoever… [what about those DUIs back in the summer of ’71? Do those not count?] that no proof linking me to any criminal conspiracy, whether it is called Mafia or Cosa Nostra or whatever other name you wish to give [“Mafia” is fine], has ever been made public. Only one man has made charges against me, and that man is known to be a murderer, arsonist and rapist. [Really, we think Spitzer might have a problem with this part]
And yet this committee had used this person to besmirch my name. My personal protest can only be made to the people of this country [It’s kind of a stretch to say people in Michigan or Nevada care about this. New York we’ll give you, maybe New Jersey but that’s really all we can offer]. I can only thank God that in this country we have a legal system and courts of law to protect innocent people from wild accusation [Obviously you didn’t follow the OJ trial]. I thank God for our democratic due process of Law that shields me from the false charges made by this committee’s witness. I have not taken refuge behind the Fifth Amendment, though counsel advised me to do so.
I challenge this committee to produce any witness or evidence against me, and if they do not, I hope they will have the decency to clear my name with the same publicity with which they have now besmirched it [That could be a tough one, you know Spitzer’s always had a hard time saying “I’m sorry”]. I ask this without malice, in the interests of fair play.
Grasso: I Don’t *Actually* Know Why I Got $187.5 Million, But I’d Like To Keep It, If That’s Cool With YouBy Bess Levin
Dick Grasso has once again asked to be allowed to keep his sizeable compensation package, awarded to him by the NYSE in 2003. Gerson Zweifach, Grasso’s attorney, claimed that “It was error for the trial court to even attempt on summary judgment to decide what people knew and what Mr. Grasso should have known,” referring to a decision made by judge Charles E. Ramos, back in October. According to the Wall Street Journal,
Mr. Zweifach said Mr. Grasso’s compensation was spelled out in his employment contract, particularly the formula used to determine payments owed to him under the exchange’s Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan, or SERP.
He also argued that the NYSE’s board was made up of corporate executives who wouldn’t have stood by silently if they felt Mr. Grasso wasn’t giving them the full story on his compensation.
Dick Grasso discovered the upside of getting canned by the NYSE in 2003: he spent a lot less time in New York City, where he has a residence in Tribeca, and a lot more time out in in Long Island mansion. And this has given him the confidence to deny officially being a resident of the city in 2003, and therefore allowing him to avoid millions in taxes. New York City tax authorities are calling bullshit, of course, but Grasso sounds pretty damned unconcerned.
The boys at the Post have the story:
The former NYSE chief told The Post he moved out of the city “in 1974″ and he’s confident he did nothing wrong.
His primary legal tack, at least for the 2003 allegations, is to prove he didn’t spend 183 days in the city – the legal definition of a resident.
“Fortunately,” Grasso said, “the year in question, 2003, is the one where the NYSE fired me. We went back and checked – I spent 170 days in the city. If they had dragged out my dismissal, I would have had to plead no contest.”
He’s already got a team of lawyers working ’round the clock anyhow. What’s one more legal battle, anyway?
Taxing Grasso [New York Post]