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Dick Fuld Still Has A Friend In Charlie Gasparino

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Since Lehman Brothers bit the big one, many people have abandoned Dick Fuld. Former employees, friends, Erin-- they all want nothing to do with him. There doesn't seem to be much to gain in staying loyal to the ex-CEO, other than knowing you'll never have to wonder whether or not you're getting an honest answer to the question, does this outfit look like shit? (In fact, you won't even have to bring it up-- Dick will gladly broach that subject.)

So when it was suggested last week that Charlie Gasparino owed David Einhorn and all the critics of Lehman Brothers an apology, for saying that those claiming the bank was in a bad way had no idea what they were talking about, and that, were it to come down to a fight, street or otherwise, he'd have his money Fuld smoking all these fools, some peole might've assumed CG would admit the error of his ways and go on record to state that he'd officially stopped returning Fuld's calls. Unfortunately, these people failed to remember two things: 1) Charlie Gasparino neither makes mistakes nor admits to them and 2) he never, ever turns his back on a friend. For these reasons and more (DF has dirt on CG), Charlie poses an interesting theory in his latest Daily Beast column-- the guy preparing the report on Lehman released last week had an interest in making Fuld and Co.'s actions look worse than they maybe were--, that all in all, in said report, Team Lehman didn't come off that bad and the Dick Fuld? Charlie's still got his back.

I’ll be the first to tell you that Fuld was a good CEO who over time became arrogant and delusional, and with that allowed his firm to embrace risk in astronomically absurd ways, particularly as Lehman became more successful. Increasingly, he appointed yes men and yes women to senior posts, including Erin Callan, who in my opinion was grossly unqualified to be the chief financial officer of a major Wall Street firm that was rolling the dice on esoteric bonds. [...] But consider this: Valukas, a former U.S. attorney, works for the Lehman estate. It’s his job to get money for the estate to make creditors whole. In doing so, it’s his job to make Fuld & Co. look as culpable as possible in the way they handled the firm’s finances as it slid into bankruptcy.

Then consider something else: For all the time spent on this report, and the amount of evidence collected, and the high-ranking executives interviewed, there’s very little here to show that for all their recklessness, Fuld, Callan, and the rest of the crew knew that what they were doing was illegal. Quite the opposite: They thought the slimy ways they manipulated the firm’s balance sheets (the report makes reference to a particularly odious thing called “Repo 105”) were a legal way to make bad stuff look temporarily better. They even asked their auditors, Ernst & Young, if it was OK and it was, at least according to the accountants.