There have been a lot of fine examples of shameless gall over the last few years. Not just years, but even within the past week, like when Dick Cheney wrote an oped with his child and actually had the "Shameless Gall" wrote write, "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many."
It would seem hard to top most of these -- and that one in particularly -- but you have to give credit to Deeb Salem, a former broker at Goldman Sachs for trying and coming close.
The issue, you see, is that Mr. Salem has told the courts the he was promised a $13 million bonus, and he only got a bonus of a paltry $8.25 million.. Now, admittedly, for anyone to get almost $5 million less than he believes himself due is troubling. Even if you got $8.25 million, $5 million is a whole lot of money. Okay, sure, you might not get a lot of sympathy when you complain about it, but it's still understandable. But the problem to Mr. Salem is far worse than just the money, you see. First of all, that $13 million bonus was a cut from the previous year when his bonus had been $15 million. But the far bigger problem, I believe, is -- are you ready -- that he told his mother he expected to get the $13 million, and then he had to tell her it wasn't true. He let down his mother! Broke her heart, no doubt. By the way, this isn't just a side note I'm bringing up for ridicule -- he himself put this all in the legal papers he filed for his arbitration hearing.
(His mother, you see, was living with him because her house had burned down. only weeks before -- on Christmas Day, no less. It was a pretty horrible situation. And no doubt she was crestfallen when her dear child came home with only $8.25 million. What mother wouldn't be??!!)
And so Deeb Salem is suing Goldman Sachs because his bonus was just this mere $8.25 million, not the $13 million he says he was promised and by all rights is his.
The thing is -- that's not the Shameless Gall of his that I am referring to.
You see, Mr. Salem had previously gone to arbitration over this, seeking $16 million in bonuses, but the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority turned down his claim..
I have to admit, I love Goldman Sach's response to the new lawsuit. Usually in such high-end cases, lawyers respond with a demeanor of pure, cold, dry legalese. But Goldman Sach's couldn't restrain itself. “These claims are utterly ridiculous,” they said with scathing scorn. “Which is why they were rejected by a Finra panel, and unworthy of any further response.”
But here's the thing -- even all that isn't the Shameless Gall I mean.
It turns out that in 2007, an internal report shows that Deeb Salem had engaged in misconduct over his dealings with securities, and that's the reason they cut his pay in 2010. In fact, "Salem pushed the faulty securities on investors while obscuring the risks." By the way, that quote isn't from a Goldman Sachs giving their subject opinion. It's from a 2011 report from United States Senate!.
So, while some people might think there's a chance they could not only get fired, but perhaps go to prison when investigated and criticized by U.S. Senate for financial misconduct -- Deeb Salem is whining and going to court because he only got $8.25 million in bonuses. Not the $13 million he told his mother.
There is a phrase that is sometimes good to live by. "Take the money and run."
The Shameless Gall Hall of Fame. Welcome your new inductee. Deeb Salem.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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