Spitting Out Sparks
Somewhere, an enterprising lawyer is looking into the idea of bringing cases against Wall Street executives on the grounds of unjust enrichment. At least, that is the hope of former New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer, who is surprised the strategy has not been tried yet.
"Someone should test it," Spitzer said this week at Bard College's annual Hyman P. Minsky Conference, suggesting that the right judge might appreciate the chance to claw back bonuses that were based on mythical profits.
Spitzer, who used old laws in new ways to go after Wall Street when he was attorney general of New York, also used his panel appearance to rail against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency ("one of the most moribund regulatory agencies") and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York ("an absolute sinkhole").
Fighting words, but as they say: You can take the man out of the New York governor's mansion, but you can't take the New York out of the man.
Taking It to the Bank
Regions Financial Corp. is seeking a permanent restraining order against an irate customer who managed to call CEO Grayson Hall to complain about a service charge.
William Weintraub, of Tennessee, was upset over a $29 overdraft fee, according to the April 7 online edition of The Birmingham News. Weintraub told the publication that his conversation with Hall remained "civil" though he had used profanity in prior calls to the bank. He used a Google search to get the executive's phone number.
Regions spokesman Tim Deighton said the company obtained a temporary restraining order on March 26 after a "verbally abusive" Weintraub made more than 180 calls over four days to "dozens of associates throughout the bank."
Weintraub's call to Hall occurred after Regions obtained a temporary restraining order. Regions had also refunded him for the charge.
Speed Limit Is 55
It's unlikely that Jane Sherburne's new job, as Bank of New York Mellon's general counsel, will be as fast-paced as her last one, at Wachovia.
That's probably a good thing.
Hired by Wachovia in the spring of 2008, the former Clinton administration counsel arrived just after the North Carolina company's board ousted longtime CEO Ken Thompson.
Sherburne helped sell the beleaguered Wachovia to Wells Fargo in Wells' last-minute bid in just a few hours — from inside the offices of rival bidder Citigroup Inc.'s outside counsel, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP.
Her new job has a Wachovia connection: CEO Robert Kelly. Explaining her hire, Kelly cited Sherburne's "wide-ranging experience in financial services as well as governmental and regulatory affairs."
Perhaps some of that experience won't be relevant this time around.