In Financial Crisis, America's Plutocrats Are Hurting Too

News & Politics

At a congressional hearing yesterday, Congressman Henry Waxman held up a chart indicating that the chairman of the now-cratered Lehman Brothers, Richard Fuld, has made $480 million since 2000. That's a hell of a lot of money -- but Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Timessays the amount is not quite accurate:

Mr. Fuld of Lehman may theoretically have been awarded $480 million at the time of his payouts -- he called that figure inaccurate on Monday -- but he didn't get much money out. Indeed, Mr. Fuld was such a believer, he didn't sell a share of stock after the summer of 2007, riding Lehman's price tag all the way down; right after the company filed for bankruptcy protection, he cashed in stock for less than $500,000. (Those shares were worth $247 million last year.) "The majority of my compensation came in stock," he said at the hearing. "The vast majority of the stock that I got I still owned at the point of our filing."

Oh dear -- we may have vastly overestimated Fuld's good fortune.

So let's see: when Fuld cashed his stock shares in, they were worth $246,500,000 less than they had been. So he didn't make $480 million. Does that mean we need to subtract $246,500,000 from $480 million?

And would that suggest that he's made only $233,500,000 since 2000?

Poor guy!

In fact, that's not quite accurate either -- the Times says elsewhere that Fuld has made $256,411,839 since 2003. Only $256 million! That's so much less than $480 million you want to take up a collection for the guy.

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