LA Times Drops the Hammer on Lehman Brothers

The Los Angeles Times reporter trio of Walter Hamilton, Andrew Tangel and Stuart Pfeifer discovered that Lehman Brothers awarded nearly $700 million to 50 of its highest-paid employees before their 2008 collapse as detailed in an exclusive article Friday:

The documents, which were among the millions of pages submitted in Lehman’s bankruptcy, show the list of top earners each 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.

Still, the rich pay packages for so many people raised eyebrows even among compensation experts and provided fresh evidence of the money-driven Wall Street culture that was blamed for triggering the financial crisis.

“Many people are going to be stunned at how well some people were being paid,” said Brian Foley, an executive compensation expert in White Plains, N.Y. “This wasn’t a matter of five or six people being paid a lot.”

The documents were obtained by the government-appointed court receiver overseeing the firm’s bankruptcy and were reviewed by The Times.

Hamilton, Tangel and David Lazarus conducted a live video chat Friday morning with readers about the story, which you can view here.

Something tells me this won’t be the last time we hear about this story.

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