Vikram Pandit, John Mack, Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon are set to testify before Barney Frank and the House Financial Services gang tomorrow to determine who knew what and when. Ahead of the Congressional Shouting Match, Charlie Gasparino has dug deep in a way only he can. His fact finding mission has resulted in two bombshells. The first is that Count Vikula attempted to pull the old "I'd love to be there but I have a previous engagement" line, as though he has something to hide (or suffers from crippling stage fright).
Pandit was apparently so uneasy about his possible appearance that at first he told committee staffers he had a conflict: A long-planned trip to China. The committee, which has subpoena power, told Pandit's people that it would probably be a smart move if he reconsidered his travel plans. "We said 'Look, this would appear a little odd if all your peers are all going to be here and you're not," said Steven Adamske, a spokesman for the committee. "We said 'It's a good idea for you to be here, too.'"
Shortly thereafter, Pandit cancelled his trip and he's now scheduled to testify. A Citigroup spokesman said: "When the committee inquired about Vikram's availability for a possible hearing on February 11, we indicated he had a trip scheduled that week. The committee subsequently notified us that the hearing would be held that day and Vikram cancelled his trip in order to participate."
The second is that these guys feel like scapegoats! and someone doesn't know his rectals from his anals (and for the offense should be summarily dismissed):
Back in New York--where Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit, Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon all work--the hearings have been described much differently. "This is a lynching," said a publicist for one of the big Wall Street firms, who's dreading this appearance. Another flack called the hearing "theater of the absurd." A third called it "an inquisition." And still another called it a "public anal exam."