When Credit Suisse private-equity titan Steven Rattner (no, not that Steven Rattner; the other one) suddenly left his job on Wall Street last week, CS framed it as an innocent resignation: He decided to leave “to spend more time with his family.”
Andrew Ross Sorkin, however, thinks the motives for his exit were more sinister. Specifically, Rattner was the subject of an Internet smear campaign launched by the jealous husband of a woman with whom he had an affair. It’s a cautionary tale of the frailty of Wall Street reputations in the Internet age.
NY Times: Five years ago, Mr. Rattner was involved in an affair with a married woman in London. Eventually, he cut off the romance, confessed to his wife and subsequently worked hard to repair his marriage. During the time of the affair and its aftermath, no one at Credit Suisse complained about his job performance — nor have they since. He was a rising star.
In other words, this ought to be a story that, while painful, remained private. Instead, it’s just the opposite, having already played out widely on the Internet.
Kelly Cosgrove, the woman with whom Mr. Rattner had an affair, was married at the time to an Australian named Tommii Cosgrove. And after he learned of the affair, Mr. Cosgrove decided to make it his life’s mission to damage Mr. Rattner. And with Mr. Rattner’s resignation, he may have succeeded…
On a half-dozen Web sites, and in a series of incendiary e-mail messages to Mr. Rattner’s colleagues and clients, as well as reporters, Mr. Cosgrove accused Mr. Rattner of trying, essentially, to steal his wife. He spins an elaborate tale, comparing Mr. Rattner to Richard Gere in the movie “Pretty Woman,” and his own wife to Julia Roberts. He contends that Mr. Rattner also took his wife to Macao, Hong Kong, the Philippines, France and Monaco, and showered her with exotic gifts, jewelry and designer clothes…
Once Mr. Cosgrove pushed his allegations to the Internet, Mr. Rattner said, there was nothing he could do to stop it. “It’s just amazing to me,” he said, describing Mr. Cosgrove’s persistence as “viral.” “And there is no way to fight back.”
[W]ith DLJ Merchant Banking planning to raise a new investment fund, and the rumour mill still swirling about Mr. Rattner, and continually stirred up by Mr. Cosgrove, some of the firm’s partners were worried that Mr. Rattner was becoming a liability, said people at the firm who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter…
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