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Report: Ex-Stock Chief Pigged Out

An internal report concludes that former New York Stock Exchange chairman Dick Grasso received from $144 million to $156 million in excess compensation during his years at the Big Board, published reports said.

The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal said the report, prepared for the NYSE by lawyer Dan Webb, cast Grasso in a harsh light.

The Times said the report documented what the newspaper called a "culture of excessive pay at the exchange" that included $240,000 a year for Grasso's executive assistant and $130,000 a year for his two drivers.

The Journal noted that Grasso's pay package included such perks as the use of a private plane, a car and driver, vacations, club memberships and security.

A Grasso spokesman fired back.

"Every dime of compensation was voted on unanimously by a Compensation Committee that, working with its consultants, decided that Dick Grasso was worth a great deal to the NYSE," the spokesman told the Journal. "The Webb Report does not take issue with Dick Grasso's exemplary performance as CEO of the NYSE, but questions the business judgment of some of the most sophisticated men and women in the financial world."

The report examines the decisions that led to Grasso's ouster Sept. 17. A 35-year NYSE veteran, Grasso stepped down under a cloud after the exchange revealed he had been promised $187.5 million in retirement benefits and deferred compensation.

In a letter accompanying the report, interim chairman and CEO John S. Reed said members of the NYSE board had reviewed and discussed the matter, and determined that "serious damage has been inflicted on the exchange by unreasonable compensation of the previous chairman and CEO, and by failures of governance and fiduciary responsibility that led to the compensation excesses as well as other injuries."