Former Bear Stearns CEO Alan Schwartz and current Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld have gone on a mission to find the source of the rumors about their companies, The Wall Street Journal reports today. And according to the Journal, they've set their sights on the Lila Fowler of Wall Street, Lloyd Blankfein. The Journal's Kate Kelly employed the same strange film-noir style she honed on her epic Bear Stearns series to give a scenic description of a phone call that transpired between Fuld and Blankfein about the matter, using information related to her third or fourth hand or something by "a person with knowledge of the conversation" who could very well be the mailroom guy for all we know.
"You're not going to like this conversation," Mr. Fuld told Mr. Blankfein, according to people familiar with their talk, but he was hearing "a lot of noise" about Goldman traders who allegedly spread negative rumors about Lehman.
Okay. In the spirit of things we're going to re-create the conversation Kate Kelly may have had with her editor over this passage.
The original draft continued: And then Lloyd said, "Jesus Christmas, Dick! I don't know who told you that, but…."
WSJ editor: Kate, are you sure he said these exact words, or are you just making shit up?
Kate: Uh. Maybe we should just go with this:
Mr. Blankfein was taken aback by the inquiry from Mr. Schwartz, according to a person with knowledge of the discussion, even though the former Bear Stearns CEO was quick to add that he didn't believe Mr. Blankfein would ever knowingly tolerate misconduct. Mr. Blankfein responded that he had no knowledge of any alleged manipulation, this person said, adding that he told Mr. Schwartz he would respond severely if he ever discovered such behavior by Goldman traders.
Kate: Can we have Blankfein gazing into the distance here and chomping thoughtfully on a cigar?
Earlier: The Man Comes Down on Rumormongering