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WSJ/CNBC: Dick Grasso Offers Resignation, NYSE Accepts
The Wall Street Journal | September 17, 2003

Posted on 09/17/2003 3:14:03 PM PDT by Timesink

More TK...


TOPICS: Breaking News; Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; News/Current Events; US: New York
KEYWORDS: dickgrasso; nyse; weaselslist
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1 posted on 09/17/2003 3:14:03 PM PDT by Timesink
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To: Timesink
Been following this on cnbc.
2 posted on 09/17/2003 3:15:49 PM PDT by psjones
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To: Timesink
He will have a book out in 9 months. It won't sell. He will enjoy his retirement otherwise.
3 posted on 09/17/2003 3:15:50 PM PDT by dogbyte12
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To: Timesink
No loss to the investing community. One more crook gone, hundreds more to follow...
4 posted on 09/17/2003 3:17:11 PM PDT by Beck_isright (Shenandoah and Blue Ridge will re-emerge as the investment of the 21st Century....)
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To: Timesink
Why didn't he wait to realize his money until he was ready to retire?
5 posted on 09/17/2003 3:17:44 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: TopQuark
That didn't take long...
6 posted on 09/17/2003 3:18:51 PM PDT by Wphile (Keep the UN out of Iraq)
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To: Timesink
Is Grasso a Democrat of Republican?

Serious question, I am thinking of Robert Rubin, John Corzine, etc.
7 posted on 09/17/2003 3:20:15 PM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
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To: *Weasels_List
bump
8 posted on 09/17/2003 3:20:37 PM PDT by Timesink
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To: Timesink
Has Imus addressed this? I know they are buds, but I don't have the opportunity to watch him anymore....I'm not implying that that is a bad thing.
9 posted on 09/17/2003 3:22:00 PM PDT by gorush
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To: aristeides
Wires: NYSE Spokesmen refusing to confirm Grasso's resignation. This indicates they're hammering out details.
10 posted on 09/17/2003 3:22:30 PM PDT by Timesink
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To: aristeides
He got something like $39 million to retire. That ain't bad...
11 posted on 09/17/2003 3:23:24 PM PDT by Beck_isright (Shenandoah and Blue Ridge will re-emerge as the investment of the 21st Century....)
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To: Timesink
Mary Thomspon on CNBSC just talke to McCall the head of the Compensation Board and has confirmed it, effective at 6:30 p.m. EDT tonight...FYI
12 posted on 09/17/2003 3:24:05 PM PDT by Beck_isright (Shenandoah and Blue Ridge will re-emerge as the investment of the 21st Century....)
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To: Timesink
Mary Thompson of CNBC confirms via Carl McCall that Grasso tendered his resignation and it was accepted. Board will reconvene at 9 pm tonight to determine an interim chairman.
13 posted on 09/17/2003 3:24:19 PM PDT by Timesink
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To: Timesink
A lot of funds have his head on a platter.....they lost money while HE MADE BEAUCOUP BUCKS.....not a smart move, Dickie. (But, hey, I also have BLAME the BOARD who GAVE him the Moola, too.)
14 posted on 09/17/2003 3:25:06 PM PDT by goodnesswins (Whiners & PC'ers.......members of the new OFFENDED Political Party)
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To: Timesink
This episode points to a serious problem with U.S. businesses. Officers of the board take hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation from the company, and then that money isn't available to reinvest in the company. R&D, new equipment, competitive salaries for the rank and file, service to the customer, all of it siphoned off into the pockets of the board members. Some companies that are already weak wind up going bankrupt because of this sort of thing.

I almost hate writing this because it sounds like a Democrat anti-capitalist talking point, but it really is bad for business, and the sums involved are so huge that you have to wonder, who would want that kind of money anyway? It wasn't always like this, either, and it's not a good development.

15 posted on 09/17/2003 3:25:23 PM PDT by Batrachian
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To: Timesink
LOL, we're watching this live at the same time. What a circus.
16 posted on 09/17/2003 3:25:24 PM PDT by Beck_isright (Shenandoah and Blue Ridge will re-emerge as the investment of the 21st Century....)
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To: Batrachian
Be prepared for a bbt attack now...shame on you.
17 posted on 09/17/2003 3:26:12 PM PDT by Beck_isright (Shenandoah and Blue Ridge will re-emerge as the investment of the 21st Century....)
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To: Beck_isright

Grasso Resigns as NYSE Chair
After Weeks of Controversy

By SUSANNE CRAIG and KATE KELLY
Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Dick Grasso resigned as chairman of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, offering to quit after the board held an emergency meeting to discuss the embattled chief's fate shortly after the close of trading.

Mr. Grasso, under fire for what many on Wall Street called an excessive pay package that saw him walk away with $139.5 million a few weeks ago, tendered his resignation at the meeting, and the board accepted, sources say.

The New York Stock Exchange directors called the emergency board meeting Wednesday to discuss the Mr. Grasso's future. A person close to the NYSE board told the Associated Press that the directors planned to ask Mr. Grasso to resign. The emergency meeting began at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, directors confirmed.

Tuesday night Mr. Grasso had called for a special meeting next week, but calls for his resignation continued Wednesday.

A spokesman said earlier Wednesday that Mr. Grasso called the meeting set for next week to "review the preliminary report and recommendations prepared by the special committee on governance of the NYSE and to discuss current issues."

Also on Wednesday, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman William Donaldson said a $140 million pay package for Mr. Grasso is raising "serious concerns" for regulators but declined to say whether Mr. Grasso should resign.

At a hearing Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee, Mr. Donaldson said he and others on the SEC were "upset" by reports about Mr. Grasso's lucrative pay, and will pose more questions to the NYSE board about how it was set.

"We will be taking a hard look at the governance structure," Mr. Donaldson told reporters after the hearing. He said Mr. Grasso's salary will be "a small but important piece" of the SEC's review.

Mr. Donaldson declined to comment on calls for Mr. Grasso's resignation, saying he didn't think the SEC chairman should discuss that "at this point."

However, two Democratic presidential hopefuls weighed in on the controversy, both urging Mr. Grasso to step down.

North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who entered the race on Tuesday, said Mr. Grasso's resignation should be part of reforms at the NYSE.

"Dick Grasso's pay package is extraordinarily excessive, but the amount is just a symptom of the real problem. The real problem is that the Board of the New York Stock Exchange has operated like a clubhouse, with no accountability to anybody except itself. Instead of setting an example for corporate America, the board has become a symbol of what's wrong at too many corporations," the senator said.

"Dick Grasso should step down because there can no longer be real reform at the stock exchange until he does. But Dick Grasso's resignation has to be just the beginning of reform, not the end," he said.

Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman said Mr. Grasso should quit to restore market confidence. "Instead of setting an example of ethical leadership for the market he oversees, Mr. Grasso's behavior has shaken the faith of investors and the foundation of the stock exchange. For the sake of confidence in the market, it is time for Mr. Grasso to resign."

The emergency meeting came as the heads of four of America's largest public pension funds -- two in California, one in New York and one in North Carolina, representing combined assets of $401 billion -- asked Mr. Grasso to step down. They asserted that his $139.5 million deferred-pay package is too much, particularly amid efforts by U.S. companies to shore up governance standards as the nation's stock markets recover from an unprecedented period of corporate fraud.

Several board members, primarily the heads of big Wall Street firms, have privately been discussing over the past several days what to do about the controversy. Pressuring Mr. Grasso to resign was among the options being floated.

Some New York Stock Exchange directors, under pressure from regulators, are preparing to propose several changes to how the exchange's board operates -- including barring the chairman from having input into the nomination of new directors.

They will also propose that the board cut the number of Wall Street directors and increase outside participation, people familiar with the situation say.

The preliminary proposals were to be discussed by the New York Stock Exchange's Special Committee on Governance at a meeting set for Sept. 29 and most likely presented to the full board three days later. Wednesday's meeting left unanswered whether that timetable would change.

The pay package, prompted membership-seat holders on the exchange and Monday the state treasurers in California and North Carolina, and the New York state comptroller to join the call for Mr. Grasso's resignation.

[Dick Grasso]
NYSE Chairman Dick Grasso spoke last week at a panel discussion on corporate governance in Washington.

The tentative blueprint comes as the very securities-industry directors whose presence stands to be reduced on the exchange board have already begun considering the possibility of asking Mr. Grasso to resign as a way to quell the firestorm they fear is damaging the reputation of the Big Board. They have been waiting to see whether pressure will continue to mount from the floor, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the public.

Mr. Grasso has said he has no intention of resigning. But the governance proposals under consideration could nevertheless curtail the influence of the NYSE chairman.

The board's review of its governance structure predates the pay flap. Six months ago SEC Chairman William Donaldson asked the Big Board to examine its own corporate governance, a process that the NYSE had set in motion. The proposals are intended, in part, to help the exchange emulate the policies of its own listed companies.

But the proposal to alter the board's composition seems aimed at criticism -- including a conclusion in a report last month by the Council of Institutional Investors, a powerful pension-fund group -- that the prominence of broker dealers on the NYSE board could have a chilling effect on Big Board regulators' independence. The board has seats for 27 members, including three Big Board officials, 12 securities-industry representatives and 12 public representatives. (There is one vacancy.)[William Donaldson]

The proposal to limit the influence of the senior management, including the chairman, in the nominating process is also intended to make the board more independent.

In a late-March letter to the NYSE and the Nasdaq Stock Market, owned by the National Association of Securities Dealers, Mr. Donaldson asked the markets to re-examine their own corporate-governance practices with an eye toward following the same standards they set for their listed companies. At that time, the Big Board established its Special Committee, a group co-chaired by former NYSE board member Leon Panetta and H. Carl McCall, a current director and private-equity executive.

The committee, which also includes former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Invemed Associates LLC Chairman Kenneth Langone, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chairman and CEO Henry Paulson Jr., and other current NYSE directors, has met numerous times this year, taking testimony from floor members, retired seat-holders, and other individuals and institutions as to how the NYSE's governance practices should be changed.[H.Carl Mccall]

In June, at the committee's recommendation, the full NYSE board adopted 10 initial reforms. Those included establishing a compensation committee free of securities-industry directors, publishing compensation information of top executives in the Big Board's spring annual report, and barring NYSE executives from serving on listed-company boards, among other things. Potentially more significant proposals are expected to be floated in the coming report.

The exchange's efforts don't seem to have satisfied Mr. Donaldson. In a letter dated Sept. 2 and sent to Mr. McCall, the SEC Chairman wrote that Mr. Grasso's compensation "raises serious questions regarding the effectiveness of the NYSE's current governance structure."

Earlier this year, the NYSE was embarrassed when its attempt to nominate Citigroup Inc. Chairman Sanford Weill to its board as a public director was foiled by an outcry from regulators, who said that adding Mr. Weill to the exchange board, so soon after his company paid $400 million to settle allegations that it had offered investors disingenuous stock advice, was preposterous. Mr. Weill withdrew his name, but the move didn't quiet the exchange's corporate-governance critics.

Mr. Grasso has tried to distance himself from the nominating process, saying the notion of appointing Mr. Weill was one presented to him by the committee, not the other way around. But at a nominating-committee meeting earlier this year, Mr. Grasso weighed in, saying one potential candidate the group was discussing had been approached before and wasn't interested, according to one person who was there.

Mr. Grasso has said previously that it isn't unusual for him to have input into discussions of the nominating committee.

Write to Susanne Craig at susanne.craig@wsj.com19 and Kate Kelly at kate.kelly@wsj.com20

18 posted on 09/17/2003 3:27:39 PM PDT by Timesink
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To: Batrachian
I agree with you....as an MBA/conservative.....this seems to just be an extension of a shakedown he and the Board were "legally" able to complete. I've pondered making a database of all the Board members of all the Major Corps, News Organiz people, Politico's, Hollywood types, etc.....and see where all the cross fertilization is. (Hope that makes sense.)
19 posted on 09/17/2003 3:28:05 PM PDT by goodnesswins (Whiners & PC'ers.......members of the new OFFENDED Political Party)
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To: Timesink
Do you get the feeling that there are just a few more shoes to drop before this year ends and the election overshadows the news cycle?
20 posted on 09/17/2003 3:28:46 PM PDT by Beck_isright (Shenandoah and Blue Ridge will re-emerge as the investment of the 21st Century....)
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To: Timesink
Take the money ($140 million) and run. That ought to make the average investor more confident about the stock market.
21 posted on 09/17/2003 3:30:26 PM PDT by dennisw (G_d is at war with Amalek for all generations)
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To: arete; Orangedog; Tauzero; kezekiel; ChadGore; Harley - Mississippi; Dukie; Matchett-PI; ...
Pinging some of the usual suspects.
22 posted on 09/17/2003 3:32:55 PM PDT by Beck_isright (Shenandoah and Blue Ridge will re-emerge as the investment of the 21st Century....)
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To: Batrachian
Dick Grasso is part of the greed is good mentality. Greed and financial ambition have their place but sheeesh...
23 posted on 09/17/2003 3:34:12 PM PDT by dennisw (G_d is at war with Amalek for all generations)
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To: psjones
"Somebody" must have read my posts here re Grasso (which go way back) and got the ball rolling. Har.

There was no pay-package controversy when I started in on Grasso.

He was operating a fraud pit -- the New York Stock Exchange -- and allowed the crooks to go wild in his casino in exchange for MONEY. Others will be exposed.

I'll be watching those two entertaining gangsters (Kudlow & Cramer) tonight on CNBC. I hope no one's taking anything they say seriously, or taking seriously anything that comes out of their guests' mouths. What a bunch of manipulators!

24 posted on 09/17/2003 3:39:51 PM PDT by Jackie
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To: dennisw
A certain amount of enlightened self-interest is a requirement for success, but this goes way beyond the pale, and it's bad business. It's not uncommon, either. We used to hear the phrase "golden parachute" quite regularly. I'm not sure if the phrase is still in use, but the practice certainly is.
25 posted on 09/17/2003 3:40:10 PM PDT by Batrachian
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To: Timesink; Grampa Dave; Eva
"The emergency meeting came as the heads of four of America's largest public pension funds -- two in California, one in New York and one in North Carolina, representing combined assets of $401 billion -- asked Mr. Grasso to step down."

Some of us in CA have been watching our Commie Treasurer grabbing some suspicious "face time" on this issue and are looking for ulteriour motives with all the crappola going on in our two public pensions under total obscene control of Demonicrats! Something is boiling just under the surface with this that could be really big!!!

26 posted on 09/17/2003 3:40:44 PM PDT by SierraWasp (Forget Party Politics... Re-register "decline to state" and become truly Independent!!!)
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To: Beck_isright
He got something like $39 million to retire. That ain't bad...

Add $100 million or so, and you'll be on target.

27 posted on 09/17/2003 3:43:16 PM PDT by b4its2late (Why is 'abbreviation' such a long word?)
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To: Timesink
He really does look like his name......
28 posted on 09/17/2003 3:44:38 PM PDT by b4its2late (Why is 'abbreviation' such a long word?)
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To: Beck_isright
Ha! CNBC is already running "We were first on Dick Grasso" ads! BWA-haaa!
29 posted on 09/17/2003 3:47:28 PM PDT by Timesink
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To: dennisw
The problem with greed is the dollars are never enough. The pile of dough is always short of what somebody wants.
30 posted on 09/17/2003 3:50:05 PM PDT by NoControllingLegalAuthority
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To: Batrachian
You raise an excellent point.

The real problem isn't the guy who's getting a big compensation package, though -- it's the people who are willing to pay him that kind of money in the first place.

31 posted on 09/17/2003 3:51:30 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("To freedom, Alberta, horses . . . and women!")
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To: Timesink
Pathetic. Of course I flipped over to that other network and they were not even covering the story. Lou Dobbs has to feel like Nancy Pelosi; saying alot and no one cares or listens.
32 posted on 09/17/2003 3:51:55 PM PDT by Beck_isright (Shenandoah and Blue Ridge will re-emerge as the investment of the 21st Century....)
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To: goodnesswins
I've pondered making a database of all the Board members ...and see where all the cross fertilization is.

I've had thoughts along the same lines at times ...

33 posted on 09/17/2003 3:56:36 PM PDT by _Jim (Resources for Understanding the Blackout of 2003 - www.pserc.wisc.edu/Resources.htm)
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To: Beck_isright
Pathetic. Of course I flipped over to that other network and they were not even covering the story. Lou Dobbs has to feel like Nancy Pelosi; saying alot and no one cares or listens.

Well, let's not knock Lou. He's one of the few real conservatives at CNN. (For example, he has BANNED Wesley Clark from his show.) And he has intentionally broadened his show's focus of late beyond just business.

But still, I am amazed that he apparently gave very little - if any - coverage to the Grasso story. Every time I flipped over to CNN, he was talking about something else. (Well, he's talking about it now, at the very end of the show.)

34 posted on 09/17/2003 4:00:29 PM PDT by Timesink
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To: Timesink
Oh no, that wasn't a slam at Lou. He feels trapped over there and I'm sure the microsecond his contract is up, he's bailing. Lou has to feel like the loneliest man at work every day.
35 posted on 09/17/2003 4:04:26 PM PDT by Beck_isright (Shenandoah and Blue Ridge will re-emerge as the investment of the 21st Century....)
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To: _Jim
All of the cross fertilization will center in D.C.
36 posted on 09/17/2003 4:04:57 PM PDT by Beck_isright (Shenandoah and Blue Ridge will re-emerge as the investment of the 21st Century....)
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To: Diddle E. Squat
The ultimate irony, that Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch asked for his resignation.

Rats every one!

37 posted on 09/17/2003 4:19:16 PM PDT by OldFriend (DEMS INHABIT A PARALLEL UNIVERSE)
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To: goodnesswins
You are so right about the Board. Criminy, with all the corporate scandals the past couple of years and not one single board member has been held accountable to anything. The Boards are supposed to serve as the watchdogs for the shareholders and it is overwhelmingly clear that they have not done so but yet no indictments, no nothing. It's rather appalling. I suppose the shareholders could all vote them out but even that is very unlikely.
38 posted on 09/17/2003 4:19:49 PM PDT by Wphile (Keep the UN out of Iraq)
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To: goodnesswins
Grasso was paid to look away.....and he did.
39 posted on 09/17/2003 4:20:07 PM PDT by OldFriend (DEMS INHABIT A PARALLEL UNIVERSE)
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To: Diddle E. Squat
Grasso put in to nomination leon pinnetta, carl mccall, and madeline halfbright for the board of directors. That should give you an idea.
40 posted on 09/17/2003 4:20:08 PM PDT by DWC
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To: DWC
Grasso put in to nomination leon pinnetta, carl mccall, and madeline halfbright for the board of directors. That should give you an idea.

Good Lord...that is frightening indeed!

41 posted on 09/17/2003 4:24:10 PM PDT by Wphile (Keep the UN out of Iraq)
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To: Batrachian
This episode points to a serious problem with U.S. businesses. Officers of the board take hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation from the company, and then that money isn't available to reinvest in the company. R&D, new equipment, competitive salaries for the rank and file, service to the customer, all of it siphoned off into the pockets of the board members. Some companies that are already weak wind up going bankrupt because of this sort of thing.

Sure it's a problem, but it isn't anywhere near as serious as the problem of the government stealing money from the private sector. We've lost our priorties, so that we may jump on the trendy villain bandwagon.

42 posted on 09/17/2003 4:25:49 PM PDT by Moonman62
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To: Wphile
For years I've thought it would be great to be "annointed" to a major Board.... now, I'm wondering what a battle it might have been to get a point across, especially during the heydays of the late 90's.....there probably were Board members asking questions, but, like me, they'd be looked at as party poopers. Having worked with Compensation, however, I question what his actual JOB was, and how it compared to comparable jobs.....but, then, like you, I wonder about the pay of some of the CEO's whose Board's just keep on upping their salaries while the company is losing money. Just my 2 cents.
43 posted on 09/17/2003 4:26:25 PM PDT by goodnesswins (Whiners & PC'ers.......members of the new OFFENDED Political Party)
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To: Batrachian
This is so much like how Enron operated, with absurd conflicts of interest, that an open revolt by assorted NYSE members was inevitable.Where does a regulator get the idea he can take home a pay package, more than the CEO of Goldman Sachs, that comes directly from fees paid by member firms over which that he has jurisdiction and regulatory authority ? This is gross corruption and Carl McCall, good Democrat flunkie moron he is, signed off on it.

The entire compensation committee of the NYSE has to be fired.
44 posted on 09/17/2003 4:28:59 PM PDT by habs4ever
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To: OldFriend
Both firms finally figured out how much they've been ripped off.This is a giant theft, aided by Carl McCall,idiot stooge.Have you ever heard of a bureaucrat getting such a payday?
45 posted on 09/17/2003 4:31:03 PM PDT by habs4ever
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To: habs4ever
"The entire compensation committee of the NYSE has to be fired."

YES! That's what SHOULD happen....it will be interesting to see if this goes any further....

46 posted on 09/17/2003 4:36:47 PM PDT by goodnesswins (Whiners & PC'ers.......members of the new OFFENDED Political Party)
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To: habs4ever
Grasso outlived his usefulness. Several Merrill Lynch brokers were indicted in the matter of Enron. This was in reference to some phony accounting they sanctioned in 1999.

It would seem that the fig leaf is coming unglued on Wall St. and heads will roll.

Recall Levitt, the former SEC chairman admitted he never even looked at the Enron filings for years. Years BEFORE President Bush was elected.

47 posted on 09/17/2003 4:40:32 PM PDT by OldFriend (DEMS INHABIT A PARALLEL UNIVERSE)
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To: habs4ever
"The entire compensation committee of the NYSE has to be fired."

The entire board of directors of the NYSE hast to be fired.
48 posted on 09/17/2003 4:57:08 PM PDT by Beck_isright (Shenandoah and Blue Ridge will re-emerge as the investment of the 21st Century....)
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To: Moonman62
I think I could list two dozen problems worse than this Grasso business, but since that's what's under discussion, than that's what I'm going to discuss.

Do I have to add a disclaimer to everything I say to the effect that "I know there are worse problems out there but this is what I'm discussing now."?

49 posted on 09/17/2003 5:03:58 PM PDT by Batrachian
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To: Timesink
Aw, stop yer grumblin!

It's obvious this man is ordained to be wealthy in his olde age. Why do you begrudge a man his just pay for whatever job he's done to deserve such riches?!?

50 posted on 09/17/2003 5:04:49 PM PDT by Glenn (What were you thinking, Al?)
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