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CNBC v. Goldman Sachs: The Battle Of The Petty

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That's not a dis, btw, everyone here should be fully aware of the fact that battles of the petty variety are our favorite kind. Quick recap, then down to the dirty. Last week, in a CNBC BREAKING NEWS segment, Charlie Gasparino report that Goldman Sachs had held a double secret you must have the password to enter meeting, mere hours after Tim Geithner's Congressional debut. According to Chaz, those gathered at the coffee klatch, which included the likes of Ken Griffin, were of the mind that the boy toy Treasury Secretary has no idea what he's doing.
Almost immediately following the hit, Goldman Sachs denied that the meeting was secret, saying it had been planned weeks in advance, and that T. Geith was not the issue. Later that afternoon, Chaspo, in a way only he can, claimed GS was talking BS, because if the meeting hadn't been secret, "where was my invitation?" And speaking of shit from a bull? The next morning CG suggested Goldman change its ticker to that, which he believes to be a more fitting acronym for the bank's business model. For those of you who thought that was the end of it-- how wrong you are.
This morning, Gaspo appeared in a bit called "Goldman's Losing Luster," and though the Times said pretty much the same thing this morning, the rag's piece lacked that angle of vendetta. While he Gasparino charitably noted that GS "is not going under," he went on to wax poetic:

"I'm very disappointed in that firm and their little reaction to my secret private meeting story last week. You know, first they denied there was any sort of meeting anywhere...even though it was at the top levels of the firm...and then they came out with this ridiculous statement afterward about how we got everything wrong, which we really didnt. You know, here's the thing, I think there's a bigger story in their bizarre reaction to that, and I got this from speaking to people on the Street, speaking to people at Goldman Sachs. And it's essentially that they are terrified about losing their stroke in Washington...and their influence broadly on Wall Street...and I think right now they are worried about losing that sort of stroke in the Obama administration. And one of the reactions... you get a reaction like the one to that story because they're worried about losing that stroke...[stuff about how Geithner isn't reaching out to the banks], they do still have stroke there, someone told me, I have to confirm this, but one of Geithner's top liutenents is a Goldman guy. And when you talk to people they say, 'well they're always going to have stroke because they have a thousand of their little minions running around as lobbyists down there.' But clearly, inside Goldman, they're scared about not having the same access they used to have."
And then Joe Kernan asked Chaz if he was "mad at Lucas Von Trapp or something," in a zinger of a dig to Lucas van Praag, spokesman for Goldman Sachs! And though Gasparino claimed he "likes Lucas" he couldn't in good conscience not characterize GS's denial as "a bonehead move," to which Kernan added, "and now they're gonna pay!"
All this begging the question-- who's going to make a hit on whom first?


Goldman Sachs Can Fix This

A week ago today, a man named Greg Smith resigned from Goldman Sachs. As a sort of exit interview, Smith explained his reasons for departing the firm in a New York Times Op-Ed entitled "Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs." The equity derivatives VP wrote that Goldman had "veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say I identify with what it stands for." Smith went on to note that whereas the Goldman of today is "just about making money," the Goldman he knew as a young pup "revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients." It was a culture that made him "love working for the firm" and its absence had stripped him of "pride and belief" he once held in the place. While claiming that Goldman Sachs has become virtually unrecognizable from the institution founded by Marcus (Goldman) and Samuel (Sachs), which put clients ahead of its own interests, is hardly a new argument, there was something about Smith's words that gave readers a moment's pause. He was so deeply distraught over the differences between the Goldman of 2012 and the Goldman of 2000 (when he was hired) that suggested...more. That he'd seen things. Things that had made an imprint on his soul. Things that he couldn't forget. Things that he held up in his heart for how Goldman should be and things that made it all the more difficult to ignore when it failed to live up to that ideal. Things like this:

Goldman Sachs Unimpressed By Sophomoric Writing Efforts Of Former Employee

Back in March, a young man named Greg Smith published an Op-Ed in the Times called "Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs." Greg wrote that despite joining a firm that, in the beginning, cared about "teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by clients" and not "just about making money," he'd ultimately come to be sickened by a place that, twelve years later, he couldn't even recognize. A place that, on Lloyd Blankfein and Gary Cohn's watch, had lost its way. A place that, he'd come to see, was devoid of any sort of morals, whatsoever. A place that needed to take a long hard look at what it had become. A place that, he predicted, was not long for this earth. Because unlike Smith, whose proudest moments in life-- "being selected as a Rhodes Scholar national finalist and winning a bronze medal for table tennis at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, known as the Jewish Olympics," respectively-- involved hard work and no short cuts, "Goldman Sachs today," Smith wrote, is all "about the shortcuts and not enough about achievements." Goldman Sachs 2.o, one might say, hasn't worked an honest day in its life and that didn't feel right to Smith anymore. The piece, which was said to come as shock to Goldman, did not please many people on the inside, nor did the $1.5 million deal Smith scored shortly thereafter to write Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story, out October 22. Here's how Greg's publisher describes WILGS: From the shenanigans of his summer internship during the technology bubble to Las Vegas hot tubs and the excesses of the real estate boom; from the career lifeline he received from an NFL Hall of Famer during the bear market to the day Warren Buffett came to save Goldman Sachs from extinction-Smith will take the reader on his personal journey through the firm, and bring us inside the world's most powerful bank. And while higher-ups at GS may have been initially worried about the potentially damaging revelations that would appear in the book, apparently time, a slap in the face and an order to 'get it together you pustulant milquetoasts' by the ghost of Lucas van Praag has resulted in this delightfully bitchy, exceptionally underminery comment from 200 West: “Every day, some young professional, after a decade in a post-collegiate job, reassesses his or her career and decides to move on and do something else,” David Wells, a Goldman Sachs spokesman said Dealbook in an e-mailed statement. “Others can better judge whether Mr. Smith’s particular career transition is of unique interest.” Regardless of whether or not Goldman is correct in its assessment that Greg's sounds like the story dozens of analyst finishing their first year would tell of the "epic" stuff they witnessed during their 12 months of banking (+previous summer internship, during which things got pretty crazy) or if his particular career transition is indeed of unique interest, Dealbreaker will be hosting an evening of dramatic readings of select chapters, with yet-to-be secured GS alum/raconteur/boulevardier Lucas van Praag standing in for the part of Mr. Smith. Venue and ticket pricing to follow. Former Banker Promises A Peek At Goldman Sachs [Dealbook] Earlier: Resignation Letter Reveals Goldman Sachs Is In The Business Of Making Money, Hires People Who Don’t Know How To Tie Their Shoes; Jewish Ping-Pong Tournament Participant / Sixth-Year Goldman Sachs Vice President Is Looking For His Next Challenge; Goldman Sachs Accuser Greg Smith (Might Have) Lied About That Which He Holds Most Sacred