Cuomo: Top Merrill Execs Got $30 Million Apiece


Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is trying to make himself part of today’s big TARP hearings, offering Congressmen some more detail on Merrill’s controversial bonuses.

Daily News: When Cuomo first asked Merrill about its bonus plans back in October, Merrill claimed it hadn’t finalised the total size of its bonus pool.

Soon after, it was revealed that Thain was angling for a $40 million bonus. When that embarrassing fact went public, Thain backed off.

Four of his top deputies faced no such change of fortune, however, pocketing a total of $121 million as Merrill evaporated.

One beneficiary was Peter Kraus, a Thain hire who started at Merrill in mid-September and quit Dec. 18, the day Bank of America took over.

He walked away with a $24.9 million bonus for those three months of work, which figures to about $249,000 a day. The day he quit, his wife closed on a $36 million luxury Park Ave. co-op, records show.

While a lot of the bonus talk is pure demagoguery and scapegoating of an easy political target, the Merrill bonus story really does stink, given the level of support the company has received and its massive losses in 2008.

That being said, it looks like this particular news is more about Cuomo than Merrill. That Merrill paid out huge bonuses late last year, in advance of their merger and normal schedule, was the original scandal. Still it’s a shocker to see how handsomely the top guys made off.