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Would You Buy Stock in This Man?

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For the past year, the former members of the stock-exchange board, including some of the most powerful men on Wall Street, have spent hundreds of hours giving depositions about what they knew, what they didn’t know, and what they wish they could forget about Grasso’s pay package. Resentment over the whole drawn-out affair is growing and could well flare up at the trial. Fink verbally attacked an NYSE attorney who he thought was asking questions in an inappropriate tone. Cayne blew up when Schick asked the same question six times. “You got to be fucking kidding,” Cayne exploded.

In what they hope will increase pressure on Spitzer at the very moment that he wishes to focus on the governor’s race, both Grasso and Langone have made clear their plan to call each board member to testify during the trial, something that officials at Goldman are dreading as their former CEO starts his job at the Treasury Department. In late June, Grasso made a move to ensure that Paulson will testify in the case. Grasso’s attorneys sent out twenty “trial subpoenas” to Wall Street executives who sat on the NYSE’s board of directors, but Grasso concedes that his main reason was to lock in Paulson as a witness. “There is no way this case should have gone this far,” laments one senior adviser to Paulson.

If there’s been anything enjoyable for Grasso in the past three years, it’s been watching his enemies sweat. Grasso attended some of the key depositions, including Paulson’s and Reed’s. Grasso’s attorneys grilled Reed for two days. When it was finally over, Reed, visibly exhausted, walked up to Grasso to exchange a kind word. Grasso shook hands with Reed, who remarked how difficult the questioning had been. Grasso was unmoved, telling him, “It’s nothing personal, John. It’s only business.”


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