The weird and fascinating scuffles involving the 1%
Covering Wall Street from an employee angle is interesting, in part, because rich, smart and powerful people tend to be eccentric in both their professional and personal lives. And rarely are they ever afraid to duke it out in a courtroom over trivial or even head scratching events.
Some recent examples: hedge fund manager Daniel Shak sued his ex-wife for 35% of her shoe collection, then dropped the suit the minute the court proceedings began, infuriating the judge.
There’s Michael Richman, the chief compliance officer at Goldman Sachs, who sued his neighbors over the smell of manure emanating from their property, despite the fact that he and his wife also own horses.When asked in court how he knew the smell wasn't coming from his animals, Richman "basically got up in court and said, 'My poop doesn't stink,'" according to his neighbor.
Jefferies Group Chief Executive Richard Handler took New York City to court over a construction site at a different building that blocked a sliver of his 360-degree panoramic view. And just last week, a hedge fund manager sued a model known as “Miss Wonderbra’’over a ratty garden and a cramped basement.
Still, none takes the cake as the most amazing legal battle of the year. That honor belongs to hedge fund billionaire Louis Bacon, who is suing his Bahamas neighbor, clothing mogul Peter Nygard, over a long-running land scuffle.
The suit, which made its way to New York this week, claims Nygard hired journalists to run a smear campaign against Bacon, the chairman and chief executive officer of Moore Capital Management, in an attempt to drive him off the island.
Nygard allegedly created fake videos aimed at painting Bacon as a murderer, drug trafficker and a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and had them posted on YouTube, according to the lawsuit.
In one video, Bacon’s picture was reportedly superimposed over former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta, who was convicted of insider trading. The video, titled “Is Louis Bacon Racist?” portrays the hedge fund manager as a participant in “one of the biggest Wall Street insider cases ever,” according to the suit.
Nygard also allegedly paid protesters to march in the streets with signs bashing the hedge fund manager.
The whole rivalry apparently began when Bacon accused his neighbor of causing ecological damage to the area by expanding his estate, a charge Nygard denies. Weird, weird stuff.
What It’s Like to Quit a Job on Wall Street (eFinancialCareers)
Quitting is different for front-office bank employees than it is for people in other industries, as information, security and relationships are more heavily guarded on Wall Street. The end result: you get treated so coldly you may get hypothermia.
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There are self-incriminating emails, and then there is this, from a former MIT professor turned fund manager: “We have misled a lot of people with a range of statements that were incorrect simply to increase our income.’’ Yes, he pled guilty.
Brevan Howard’s New, Old Focus (WSJ)
If you’re an interest rate trader, Brevan Howard Asset Management may be a good door to knock on. The firm is shifting its focus back to interest rate trading following a poor start to the year and a sluggish 2013.
Wells Offering Raises to Loan Producers (Bloomberg)
With mortgage revenue falling due to the end of the refinancing boom, Wells Fargo is sweetening the pot for loan officers who can bring in new business. The bank has substantially increased commission rates for new home loans to help recruit and retain talent.
Goldman Sachs is asking rivals including J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America to pitch in as much as $6 million a piece to help create a new chat service that will rival Bloomberg terminals.
Sales assistants at Morgan Stanley won a $4.2 million settlement after claiming they were owed overtime pay.
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A Smart Buy-Low (Business Insider)
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