Lawrence Coss has shunned publicity for years, but recent events have made the 59-year-old executive a lightning rod for controversy.

His huge pay package as founder and chief executive of Green Tree Financial, the nation's largest manufactured-housing lender, first put him in the spotlight two years ago. The glare has intensified more recently as the company ran into accounting difficulties and arranged a controversial $6.5 billion merger deal with Conseco Inc.

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