Los Angeles Times reporters Walter Hamilton, Andrew Tangel and David Lazarus will be conducting a live video chat with readers at 10 a.m. to discuss today's front-page story on the $700 million awarded to 50 of the highest earners at Lehman Bros. months before the Wall Street bank collapsed in a history-making bankruptcy.
The Times disclosed the existence of internal Lehman documents revealing that each of the top earners were pledged $8 million to $51 million in cash, stock and other compensation. How much, if any, of the stock was cashed in before the bankruptcy wiped out its value couldn't be determined.
The rich pay packages doled out to so many people surprised even some ex-Lehman employees, who were troubled at the enormous and uneven compensation given to select executives and traders.
Lehman filed for Chapter 11 protection in September 2008 in what would become the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, sparking the biggest financial meltdown since the Great Depression. The investment bank buckled after betting heavily on sub-prime mortgages to people with shaky credit, which became worthless as housing prices tumbled and the borrowers stopped paying their loans.