Former NYSE Chief Grasso Ordered to Return Some of $187M Pay Package

A state Supreme Court judge has ordered former New York Stock Exchange chief Richard Grasso to pay back some of the compensation package that New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has labeled excessive, a Spitzer spokesman said.

The lower court judge, who issued a partial summary judgment against Grasso, will decide separately how much he should repay from the $187.5 million compensation package and dismissed his claim for another $48 million from the exchange, said Spitzer spokesman Darren Dopp.

Spitzer has been trying to recover some of the $187.5 million pay package Grasso received in 2003. An internal NYSE review known as the Webb report claimed up to $156.7 million of the pay package was excessive compared to most U.S. corporations.

Grasso has argued the exchange's officers were aware of the package when it was approved.

Spitzer, who is running for governor in New York, has been criticized by some Republicans for continuing the lengthy case against Grasso, arguing a private organization should be able to pay an executive whatever it wants. But Spitzer has said the exchange was subject to nonprofit organization laws that prohibit excessive payments and that some exchange officials were misled about the size of the compensation.

The exchange is bound by a rule that allows only reasonable compensation. The attorney general's duties includes regulating nonprofit organizations. A trial had been expected to begin later this fall.

Spitzer has said any return of Grasso's compensation will be used to help fund a stock exchange program that educates investors.