We thought it was impossible at this point to dig up any more evidence to support the claim that Jimmy Cayne is a dick who cared more about his recreational activities (card playing, drug use, journalism) than the company he was supposed to be running, but, damn it, it’s been done. And in the same NYT article, another notion we once held regarding Wall Street—that it’s the type of place that kicks you out on your ass long before the dementia sets in—is also blown out of the water.
It’s not surprising in the least that J-Cay would be the type of person to refuse to refer to an elder by the nickname he so obviously loved. Still, the extent to which JC went to deny Alan “Ace” Greenberg one of the last remaining pleasures in the twilight of his life is stunning. According to Landon Thomas, Cayne “makes a point” to “never” use the handle, and has “a standing order among some of his closer associates that anyone who uses the name Ace in his presence, owes him $100.” Due to the fact that virtually no one else at the firm shared Cayne’s inability to utter the one syllable proper noun, this is actually considered to be one of the J man’s most prudent business decisions.
Also in line with what we know but still beating his own record at prickish behavior is the story about how Cayne “convinced” Greenberg to stay at Bear last year, after he threatened to leave, citing a lack of respect, mostly from the big guy himself. The board, trying to stave off a PR crisis, told JC to get in there and make nice. Obviously any ounce of sincerity was out of the question, but they were probably under the impression Cayne could at least fake some stuff about Greenberg being “so important to the firm,” “a valuable part of the team,” “a living antique we don’t want to lose,” and so on and so forth. As it turns out, not so much!
Apparently all Cayne was capable of was citing some speech he’d given at a dinner that mentioned Greenberg’s previous work, before getting pissed off that a man of his stature had even been asked to do something so demeaning, and shouting “Alan, this is the opposite of disrespect, so don’t tell me you are disrespected” and walking out of the room. In Cayne’s defense, he did have the respect not to put Greenberg in a choke hold and ask, “Why don’t you just die, old man?” which you know he wanted to, but still. Way to make the guy feel wanted. (Another thing to note, for fairness sake, is that the reason Cayne had to cut things short was because he was late to play golf, and not because he didn’t “give a baker’s fuck if He Whose Nickname I Shall Not Say stuck around or not.”)
Shockingly left out of the article is the rumor we’ve heard that when Cayne found out those early negotiations between JPMorgan and the Fed had resulted in the Fed, feeling the equity investors didn’t deserve jack, coming up with the $2/share deal, JC was so insulted that he said he’d rather see Bear go to zero than take two, and threatened to take adequate steps to ensure that end. (Cayne scrapped the idea when the Fed supposedly told him they spend the next twenty years investigating every move he ever made at the firm which, I think we can all agree, would’ve been awesome, and would clearly include proof that JC gave away 1,000 shares of BSC to make the pictures of him taping the two-dolllar bill to the door of 383 Madison go away.)
Oh, and “Ace” says that one of the reasons he wanted to leave, in addition to being disrespected, was a bout of depression stemming from his puppy not placing well in dog shows. Enjoy it while you can, Jamie Dimon.
Behind Bear Stearns’ demise, a royal battle at the top [IHT]