NEW YORK – Richard Grasso (search), the New York Stock Exchange chairman forced out in a controversy over his giant pay package, Wednesday opened the door to settling a dispute with New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (search), comments made in an interview with CNBC indicated.
Spitzer filed a lawsuit against Grasso in May 2004 alleging his pay package was excessive under New York's not-for-profit laws.
"There are no winners in something like this, myself included," Grasso told CNBC. He added that "to the extent that we could find a path that is mutually beneficial" to the parties, it would be "in everyone's best interest."
Grasso was forced from his post in September 2003 for accepting a controversial compensation package worth $193 million that prompted fierce criticism from virtually all quarters, as well as regulatory scrutiny.
Spitzer sued Grasso in May 2004, seeking the return of at least $100 million.
Grasso, however, said on CNBC Wednesday that his "affection and emotion" for the NYSE had not changed.
A spokesman for Spitzer declined immediate comment on Grasso's reference to a possible settlement.
A lawyer for the NYSE declined to comment.
A Wall Street Journal report Wednesday said that nine of the 12 NYSE (search) directors who served on the board's compensation committee during a crucial period in 2001 and 2002 didn't realize until later the extent to which the pay raises awarded to Grasso would cause his retirement benefits to soar.
The Journal cited notes from interviews that lawyers for the NYSE conducted with them, which were used as the basis for a report by former prosecutor Dan Webb, published December 2003, which concluded that Grasso's pay was excessive.