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Ken Lewis’ negative pay day
Was the outgoing Bank of America chief wrongly coerced into foregoing his salary and bonus?
 

Bank of America’s “already disgraced” CEO, Ken Lewis, just got a “humiliating” message: “cough up your pay,” said Kaja Whitehouse in the New York Post. Obama’s Wall Street “pay czar” Kenneth Feinberg “suggested” that Lewis forgo his $1.5 million salary and his bonus this year, and pay back the $1 million he’s already received. That makes Lewis “the highest-profile Wall Street executive yet to feel the brunt of Feinberg’s power.”

“This is insane,” said Jessica Pressler in New York Magazine. Ken Lewis spent the last year “being battered by the press and Bank of America shareholders,” and now he has voluntarily agreed to pay Bank of America $1 million for that pleasure? “No way.” Lewis either had a “big hippie epiphany” that he doesn’t need material possessions, or Feinberg has some serious dirt on him.

Let’s agree that it’s “at least a generous gesture” on Lewis’ part, said Douglas McIntyre in 24/7 Wall Street, but don’t feel too bad for him: he’ll still walk away in January with “an extraordinary sum of money”—between $69.3 million and $120 million in retirement benefits and deferred pay—“without challenge from Feinberg.”

Unless the Obama administration tries to take away Lewis’ “golden handshake,” too, said Daniel Tencer in Raw Story, as alleged by Bank of America spokesman Bob Stickler. Stickler essentially called the Obama team “outlaws,” asking: “Since when does law apply to this administration?” That’s pretty tough talk from a bailed-out bank that’s “collected $45 billion in taxpayers’ money,” plus at least $100 billion more in federal loan guarantees.

 

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