Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself, Dick
Happy early anniversary of your death, Lehman Bros.
NEW YORK/KETCHUM, Idaho (Reuters) - "You don't have a gun; that's good."
That was how Richard Fuld greeted a Reuters reporter who had tracked him down to his country house in a bucolic setting beside a river and amid tree-covered slopes in Ketchum, Idaho last Friday.
The man vilified for the collapse of Lehman Brothers (LEHMQ) almost a year ago, a failure that triggered the global economic crisis, seemed burdened but not crushed by the pressure of the upcoming anniversary.
Standing on his gravelly driveway wearing a black fleece vest, dark gray shorts and sandals, Fuld indicated he was torn about speaking out in his own defense, partly because of ongoing litigation but also because he felt the world was not ready to listen.
"You know what? The anniversary's coming up," he said. "I've been pummeled, I've been dumped on, and it's all going to happen again. I can handle it. You know what, let them line up."
Fuld again emphasized his concern about what will be said and written about him in the days leading up to the September 15 anniversary of the Lehman collapse but also stressed his ability to see it through.
"They're looking for someone to dump on right now, and that's me," Fuld lamented and later added: "You know what they say? 'This too shall pass.'"
Oh please, Dick, enough with the victim stance. We know you were basically fed to the wolves by Paulson but it wasn't like you were all that stable to begin with. King Henry has his own sins to confess but Lehman got itself into that mess in the first place.
(this is too easy and too funny so I'm just going to roll with it)
Listen, Dick, you did it. Your company did it. King Henry left you for dead but you were the Dick that led your company into the jaws of death, not the Treasury. So if you're trying to pull the sympathy card now, I might humbly suggest you pull a GWB and shrink off into the darkness without a peep.
Guardian UK reminds us of how things looked for Dick in the days before Lehman seized up and croaked:
The game was up. Gathered in a first-floor conference room at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a huddle of senior Lehman Brothers executives realised that their firm was bust. A last-ditch effort to get Barclays to buy the 185-year-old Wall Street bank had failed. The British were not coming. Bankruptcy was the only card left to play.
"People were enormously upset," recalls Rodgin Cohen, a partner at the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell who was advising Lehman on its bankruptcy on the afternoon of Sunday, 14 September last year. "But this was a group of professionals. There was anger but there wasn't any screaming or running around. Everybody had been living this 24/7 so, really, there was an element of exhaustion."
Lehman had tried everything to avoid this fate. Its chief executive, Dick Fuld, had peppered his counterpart at Bank of America, Ken Lewis, with phone messages urging him to use his stronger institution to mount a rescue. Fuld even persuaded George Walker, a non-executive director of Lehman who was a cousin of President Bush, to put in a call to the Oval Office with a last-ditch appeal for a bailout, over the head of treasury secretary Henry Paulson. The president refused to answer the phone.
In the final hours of a weekend of desperate negotiations to save the bank, a bid from Barclays had been the last hope. Fuld was waiting for news at his antique-stuffed office, which took up almost a quarter of the executive suite on the 31st floor of Lehman Brothers' midtown headquarters, overlooking the Hudson River. Down at the New York Fed, Cohen and Lehman's chief operating officer, Bart McDade, rang him to tell him that no deal was forthcoming because the British bank was unable to proceed without a US government backstop against liabilities.
"We talked to Dick and told him what had happened," said Cohen. "He was still somewhat aghast that it had come to this after Bear Stearns had gotten government support. But there were no options left on the table. The government had made it quite clear that they would not bail out Lehman."
Surely Dick knew that Lehman was no Bear Stearns? Did Bear get any better treatment being pawned off to JPM as opposed to being left for dead? I guess that depends on who you work for.
Hey, Dick, if you're looking for sympathy, maybe hit up Janet Yellen? She's feeling your pain, maybe she'll give you a shoulder to sob uncontrollably on. I'm sure Janet hasn't seen Dick in quite some time and would love the opportunity.
I dedicate the following to you, Dick. May Lehman rest in peace.
Oh and The Pragmatic Capitalist warns us that we may be in for another rough autumn, just in case you were wondering.
p.s. Reuters, points to you for hilarity. "I've been pummeled, I've been dumped on" as a headline? LMFAO isn't that a Hot Carl?
Urban Dictionary, dear reader.