Grasso used NYSE jet to fly friends on holiday trips

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The Independent Online

Dick Grasso, the embattled former chairman of the New York Stock Exchange who is being sued over his $140m (£73m) pay package, used the company jet to fly his friends and family to Florida for holidays, according to court documents.

Dick Grasso, the embattled former chairman of the New York Stock Exchange who is being sued over his $140m (£73m) pay package, used the company jet to fly his friends and family to Florida for holidays, according to court documents.

The perk, revealed in a NYSE document filed in a Manhattan court, is just the latest of Mr Grasso's entitlements which have come to be seen as illustrations of recent Wall Street excess.

The deputy counsel to New York's attorney general, Avi Schick, highlighted the document when he was asked by the court this week to force Mr Grasso to turn in his tax returns from 1995 to 2003.

Mr Schick indicated that Mr Grasso's family used the jet, which was leased out by the New York Stock Exchange, for 11 personal trips in a six-month period.

The New York attorney general's department wants Mr Grasso to hand over his tax returns as part of its attempt to establish exactly how much Mr Grasso earned.

The state is suing Mr Grasso for what it claims was inappropriately high compensation when he was chairman of the so-called "Big Board".

Mr Grasso is arguing that his trips on the private jet were necessary for security reasons after the 11 September terrorist attacks, when it was deemed that it was not safe for the head of the stock exchange to travel on commercial planes.

Eric Starkman, Mr Grasso's spokesman, added: "Whatever personal usage there was of the personal jet was included in Mr Grasso's W2 [tax return] or subject to reimbursement."

Mr Grasso was forced to step down in September 2003 in the wake of public indignation about his pay package, in a country in which it is not unusual for executives to receive telephone number-sized remuneration.

His resignation has led to a volley of lawsuits. As well as the New York attorney general's case, Mr Grasso is presently suing his former employer for breaching his 2003 contract, which he claims entitles him to a further $50m.

The NYSE's embattled former chairman is also suing Carl McCall, the former chairman of the exchange's compensation committee, on the grounds that Mr McCall should be held accountable for his role in overseeing Mr Grasso's contract.

Mr Grasso is also attempting to bring a case against John Reed, the departing chairman of the exchange, for making allegedly defamatory comments about his pay package.

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