Former NYSE Chief Wins Fight for $187M Pay

State can't block Grasso payout, says court, after bitter battle
By Laurel Jorgensen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2008 5:45 AM CDT
Dick Grasso answers questions during a news conference at the New York Stock Exchange in this 2002 file photo. To his right stands Eliot Spitzer, the state's attorney general at time.    (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
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(Newser) – The former chairman of the New York Stock Exchange has won an ugly 4-year battle to retain a mammoth $187.5 million compensation package.  A New York appeals court  dismissed an action initiated by then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer challenging the payout for Dick Grasso as excessive, the Wall Street Journal reports. Grasso was ousted in 2003 after details of his pay package surfaced, sparking a nasty confrontation between Spitzer and Grasso, as well as the NYSE directors who approved the deal.

The state had argued that Grasso’s compensation was unreasonably high under New York regulations governing a not-for-profit company. But the court ruled that the state lost its right to sue when the NYSE became a for-profit company in 2006. “I’ve always had confidence in the system,” Grasso said. “After five years of this, it’s over, and it’s time to move on.”