In August, the board of the New York Stock Exchange decides to give CEO Dick Grasso his $139.5 million pension up front, ostensibly to save the estimated $10 million it would cost to deliver the payout at retirement. Grasso offers a succinct if not altogether satisfying explanation: "I'm blessed." When a firestorm erupts over Grasso's payday, he graciously agrees not to take another $48 million he has coming to him. Then, a week later, Grasso "resigns" - and quickly claims he was fired, which entitles him to another $58 million, including the $48 million he had promised to forgo.
Richard the Second
In October, New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer's wide-ranging investigation of the mutual-fund industry reveals that Dick Strong, the founder and chairman of Strong Financial, has made $600,000 - the equivalent of about 60 bucks to a regular working stiff - through market-timing trades contrary to his own company's rules. He's forced to resign and may have to sell his nearly 90 percent stake in the firm, valued at just under $1 billion.