Not a wealthy man: Billionaire Len Blavatnik (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Just about every financial media outlet in New York has devoted substantial storyspace to Dick Fuld, the former Lehman Brothers CEO whose decision to turn down the
giant bonus that the bank promised him last year was taken to be evidence of his poor moral character. Ad Policy
This is in part because Fuld has long been a cultural figure of all-American ruthlessness, and in part because the demise of Lehman is widely seen as a sign of weakness on Wall Street—and therefore of a generally exploitative culture. But there is also, and here is where the story goes a little weird, an inside-baseball business dispute in New York worth a dozen or so items on the front pages of the New York Times’ main competitors. (All other coverage has been at least one column at a time. All though one blog item has been the bulk of the coverage of the story.)
Okay, how weird is this? After Forbes published a seven-part story Monday morning “The Betrayal of One Insider,” and Business Insider reported that there were “disparate” reports of “greedy and outright shady behavior” associated with Goldman and Fuld during Fuld’s era at Lehman, a flurry of down-the-page, cloak-and-dagger Wall Street news stories followed. A federal civil complaint was filed against Lehman: the lawyers behind the DOJ’s SEC fraud case against SAC Capital Management are, it turns out, trying to get near-swept out of the way in this case; another hedge fund is alleged to have uncovered evidence that Goldman was allowed to access access unsecured by Lehman (“the bank has not responded to requests for comment,” according to the NY Times); a hedge fund partner at Edward Lampert’s ESL Investments, the hedge fund managing his funds, resigned last week in protest; and suddenly a near-billionaire hedge fund manager, the former CEO of Swissport, has been accused of buying up a row of high-end apartments on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and planning to turn them into “tastefully contemporary townhouses”—“paradise for a man who is on the losing end of $5 billion in market cap,” and as the city’s top Zillow seller.
The Reporter’s Diary: The Daily News