New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (superhero name: the Bonus Buster) has subpoenaed Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis regarding the matter of the some $4 billion in bonuses Merrill Lynch paid out to employees on the eve of its merger with Bank of America in January, according to The Wall Street Journal. Lewis said earlier this month that he'd had "no authority" to tell Merrill what to do before they were absorbed by Merrill, but the Bonus Buster thinks something was rotten and is determined to find out what it was.
Mr. Cuomo's investigators are exploring how Merrill could have set and then informed employees about the bonuses before the quarter closed, according to a person familiar with the matter. They are probing whether trading losses were adequately disclosed to shareholders and boards of each company and what the top executives approving the bonuses knew about the losses.
Meanwhile former Merrill CEO John Thain was reportedly grilled about the bonuses by Cuomo's team yesterday in a session that lasted "all day." No word if Cuomo girlfriend Sandra Lee offered him her special "truth-telling" brownies (one part Duncan Hines, one part LSD), but we think if she had, we'd have more answers.