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Can you believe the crap? Greed was good said Ace and Gecko! Steal from the poor to make the rich, richer... Hope Chris Carman loses his home, wife and doesn't get a job for years,...

'We Are All in a Daze,'
Says One Employee;
Life Savings Wiped Out
March 18, 2008; Page C1
NEW YORK -- The bagpipes from New York's famed St. Patrick's Day parade a block away provided a funereal soundtrack as workers at Bear Stearns Cos. headquarters mourned their company and the loss of billions in personal savings.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.'s deal to buy Bear Stearns for $2 a share wiped out the life savings of many of Bear's 14,000 employees, who owned one-third of the firm's shares. Most employees at Bear, known for its loyalty and a strong merit-driven culture, expected to lose their jobs.

"It's devastating," said Stephen Raphael, 62 years old, a semiretired Bear broker who joined the firm in 1974. "I have a lot of good friends here, from mail clerks to senior people. I've spent more time at Bear Stearns than I have with my own family."

Mr. Raphael, a Bear Stearns board member until recently, said he spent the weekend telling clients their money was safe and added that all Wall Street brokers were vulnerable. "I blame the system, I blame greed," he said. "Wall Street is really predicated on greed. This could happen to any firm."

Bear Stearns shares were worth $160 each a year ago and $87 fewer than three weeks ago, which left employees gaping at the $2-a-share deal price. At its peak, the employees' stake in Bear was valued at $6.3 billion. At the deal price, it was worth $79 million. (At Bear's price of $4.81 in 4 p.m. New York Stock Exchange composite trading yesterday, the stake had jumped to about $190 million.) Recently, employees were unable to sell shares because of a blackout period before Bear's earnings release.

One trader said that when he first saw the $2 price, he thought it was a typo. "Two dollars a share?" he said. "I thought it had to be $20."
"I blame the system; I blame greed," said former board member and longtime employee Stephen Raphael. Said Carol Guenther, an executive administrative assistant: "I am very, very upset, heartbroken, actually. I figure I will probably be laid off."

Firefighters in kilts and St. Patrick's Day revelers on their way to the parade streamed by Bear employees smoking cigarettes in front of the firm's headquarters. Many Bear employees blamed Chairman and former Chief Executive James Cayne, current CEO Alan Schwartz and Chief Financial Officer Sam Molinaro for failing to bolster the firm's financial position when they could have and for taking outsize pay packages.

"Two weeks ago, these guys said they didn't need to raise more capital," said a fixed-income executive who has been with the firm for 16 years. "And now they're selling the firm for a quarter of the price this building is worth!"

Two employees who service the mortgage-trading desk have been with Bear Stearns for nine years and seven years, respectively. One, a resident of Staten Island, says he has lost $600,000 in Bear Stearns stock, virtually his entire life savings. The other, from Port Washington, N.Y., her lip quivering, said she has lost $400,000.

A Culture Gone

Employees also lamented the loss of Bear's rough-hewn but familial culture, which sought out employees it described as PSDs -- poor, smart and with a deep desire to be rich. Former CEO Alan "Ace" Greenberg, now 80, still comes to work at a desk on the firm's trading floor, but his mantras to reuse paper clips and rubber bands became increasingly anachronistic during the recent boom years when Bear moved into its new tower and Mr. Cayne became the first Wall Street CEO to have a personal stake in his company valued at $1 billion.

Even in these tough times, Mr. Greenberg, who is chairman of Bear's executive committee and a director on the firm's board, has maintained his business etiquette, showing up for work as usual and returning calls promptly. Still, one associate who saw him over the weekend described his reaction as one of "shell shock." Reached yesterday for comment, Mr. Greenberg dismissed that description. "I wouldn't even comment on that -- it's silly," he said, before referring questions to Bear's spokesman.

Mr. Greenberg's thriftiness fits closely with J.P. Morgan CEO James Dimon's emphasis on cost cutting, but the risk-taking culture of a Wall Street trading house is very different from the button-down attitude of a big commercial bank with more than ten times as many employees.

"I am very, very upset -- heartbroken, actually. I figure I will probably be laid off," said Carol Guenther, 38, an executive administrative assistant who has worked at Bear Stearns for 13 years. "I love the people I work with. And Bear is very good to employees. So, we have a great sense of teamwork. Now, we are all in a daze," she said.

Wall Street recruiters are being inundated with calls from Bear employees. Options Group fielded nearly 100 calls yesterday from Bear Stearns executives and middle managers world-wide, said CEO Michael Karp, adding that money-management firms and small investment banks are quickly trying to snap up employees. "Some people will walk before the deal closes," Mr. Karp said. With their employer being sold for $2 a share, "it's a lot easier to bail out right now."

Top J.P. Morgan executives yesterday gently reminded employees not to gloat about their former rival's misfortunes. "As we now begin the important work of integrating the two firms, we are counting on you to embrace our new partners at Bear Stearns in a first-class way and ensure they feel welcome at our firm," wrote Messrs. Steve Black and Bill Winters, co-heads of the investment bank, in a memo to employees.
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4 justice now
You're right it is a bunch of crap.

Are they really so ignorant that they'd actually expect sympathy? They only have their own greed to blame.
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