NEW YORK – A member of the New York Stock Exchange was arrested Monday for allegedly threatening another member who sued to oppose the Big Board's takeover of electronic rival Archipelago Holdings Inc (AX).
Edward A. Reiss (search), who owns one of the 1,366 seats on the exchange and was an active floor trader until last year, turned himself in at Manhattan police station, the New York Police Department confirmed. He faced charges that he made a threatening phone call in July against fellow seat owner William Higgins, police said.
In the call to Higgins' attorney, the caller threatened to blow up Higgins' car in retaliation for his opposition to the NYSE-Archipelago merger, according to Higgins spokesman Allan Ripp. The merger is expected to bring more than $3 million in cash and stock for each seat on the exchange, but Higgins has sued to halt the $6 billion deal, stating that the merger undervalued the 213-year-old NYSE.
Reiss, who was accompanied by his lawyer, Adam Ford, was charged with one count of aggravated harassment, a misdemeanor, and was expected to be released without bail on an appearance ticket, police said.
A call to Ford's office was not immediately returned.
NYSE spokesman Rich Adamonis said the exchange's senior vice-president of security, Jim Esposito, worked with law enforcement on the case, but added that it was purely a law-enforcement matter. He had no further comment.
According to NYSE regulatory reports, Reiss, an exchange floor broker since 1973, was fined four times, from 1981 to 1996, for using foul language in heated exchanges with fellow floor traders and exchange officials. The fines for the four incidents totaled $8,250.
Reiss was also censured and fined $10,000 in 2001 for improper trading practices. According to the NYSE hearing panel report, Reiss was taking orders from an outside customer without going through normal exchange channels and without proper oversight.