In 2005, Eliot Spitzer was the future: A hungry, incorruptible righter of wrongs and tireless battler against Wall Street’s depredations. And Hank Greenberg was the man who had spent half his life—then a relatively modest 79 years—running one of the world’s biggest and most powerful insurers, corruptly, if 2005 Eliot Spitzer said so. And he did, in a lawsuit that has survived Spitzer’s promotion to governor, resignation in disgrace, emergence of his successor as New York attorney general as Eliot Spitzer without the whores, the entire sordid Anthony Wiener mess, Spitzer’s failed turns as television host and candidate for local paper-pusher, and Hank Greenberg’s 90th birthday (and 91st!).
Lest you think that Greenberg in his dotage and forced retirement has learned to forgive and forget, well, you must be either one very adorable fluffy white dog, or not paying attention. He’ll have his day in court, starting Tuesday, even if the lawyers cost him more than he’d have to pay back if found liable. (In part because neither Spitzer nor Andrew Cuomo nor current A.G. Eric Schneiderman have been much interested in cutting a deal.) Hank Greenberg will see his name cleared in his lifetime, even if it kills him.
Mr. Greenberg is prepared to take the stand in his own defense, say his attorneys….
“It’s going to be difficult to go back and try to recount exactly what happened” some 15 years ago, Mr. Boies said. “These were two out of thousands of transactions [for Mr. Greenberg as CEO]. His memory at 91 is a lot better than mine at 75, but nobody’s memory can really remember all of the details.”