NEW YORK – The New York Stock Exchange (search) may seek the help of New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (search) to force former NYSE Chairman Richard Grasso (search) to return part of his multimillion-dollar pay package, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Interim NYSE Chairman John Reed (search) met with Spitzer at his office on Monday and asked him to get involved with efforts to recoup some of Grasso's pay, according to the person.
Grasso was forced to resign in September after his pay package, consisting of $188 million in compensation and deferred benefits under a contract agreed to in 1999, was made public. Reed discussed the findings of an internal NYSE report on Grasso's pay with Spitzer, the person said.
A spokeswoman for Spitzer's office would not comment on the meeting. But she said the New York Attorney General's office would not get involved unless the NYSE made a formal referral to them, which has not been done.
A spokesman for the NYSE did not return calls seeking comment.
Spitzer, who became a regulatory force on Wall Street after orchestrating a $1.4 billion settlement with brokerages and investment banks of biased research charges and uncovering illegal trading practices within the mutual fund industry, has jurisdiction over non-profit organizations like the NYSE.
However, Spitzer's office has yet to get involved with the NYSE controversy, other than to block Grasso's attempt last year to appoint Citigroup, Inc.(C) Chairman Sandy Weill (search) to the NYSE board as an independent director.
Reed told The New York Times that the NYSE may sue Grasso and the previous board that approved his pay package.
The NYSE's board is slated to meet on Thursday to consider an inquiry led by former federal prosecutor Dan Webb.
Grasso received $140 million in a one-time payment last August. Later, at the height of the controversy, he said he would forgo an additional $48 million owed to him.