While Grasso toasts victory, Spitzer gets burned again

By Gary Jacobson

July 2, 2008 at 4:20pm

At lunch Tuesday, former New York Stock Exchange CEO Richard Grasso toasted his appeals court victory with a bottle of Peter Michael chardonnay.

Nice choice. “Rich yet subtle,” one critic has said about Peter Michael wines. Perfect to cap off what The New York Times called “one of the ugliest fights in modern Wall Street history.”

Grasso definitely emerges from the fight rich. Very rich. Yesterday’s decision, coming four years after the initial action, allows him to keep the entire $187.5 million compensation package awarded to him by the NYSE.

And it was another not-so-subtle slap at the reputation of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who brought the action when he was state attorney general. Spitzer thought Grasso’s pay was unreasonable.

For Spitzer, it was a continuation of what has been a thoroughly horrible run for the past year or so. First it was the Troopergate scandal, then the sex scandal that forced his resignation as governor, and now “one of the biggest defeats suffered by authorities in the past decade in white-collar . . . cases,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

“Andrew inherited this case,” Grasso told The Journal, speaking of current attorney general Andrew Cuomo. “I’m sorry he had to.”

A Cuomo spokesman said, “for all intents and purposes, the Grasso case is over.”

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