YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Grasso to appeal pay package decision

October 27, 2006|From Bloomberg News

Richard Grasso, the former chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, told a state appeals court he would challenge a judge's ruling that he return as much as $100 million in compensation from the Big Board.

In a motion filed in Manhattan, Grasso assailed an Oct. 19 court decision that he breached his duty to the exchange by not fully informing board members of his pay.

In the ruling, Justice Charles Ramos ordered Grasso to return an unspecified portion of his $190-million package. New York Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer, who sued the former chairman seeking repayment on behalf of the NYSE, said the amount could total $100 million.

Ramos "ignored the law and facts" by holding Grasso liable "for the supposed failings of a board which to all appearances was performing its job exactly as it should," Grasso's lawyers said in the filing.

The filing said the judge disregarded an appeals court order to delay the lawsuit until it ruled on two related issues. Ramos granted Spitzer's request for summary judgment on some claims in the case, deciding them without a trial.

Grasso has yet to file his formal appeal.

The attorney general's suit was filed in 2004, eight months after the NYSE chairman was ousted over the size of his pay package. The state said Grasso's pay was unreasonable under laws governing nonprofit corporations.

Grasso's attorney Gerson Zweifach said in the 12-page notice to the New York Supreme Court's Appellate Division that his client didn't act in bad faith or breach his fiduciary duty.

Spitzer is the Democratic nominee for governor of New York in the Nov. 7 general election.

He and Zweifach declined to comment.

Grasso, 60, said his appeal would also challenge the lower court's decision to dismiss his employment claim against the NYSE on the grounds that he was terminated.

Ramos ignored "uncontroverted evidence that the NYSE's board of directors had specifically approved the terms of Mr. Grasso's employment agreements," Grasso's lawyers wrote.

The former NYSE chairman told the appeals court he planned to challenge several other rulings by Ramos.

Los Angeles Times Articles