Cuomo sees light, follows profit


Making a sure bet on finding criminals in lower Manhattan, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo made a pilgrimage to Wall Street today.

Going after goniffs on Wall Street is not only a good thing, but it’s a smart career move. It worked for Rudy Giuliani and Eliot Spitzer (not to mention the likes of Thomas Dewey.)

So the AG, the Wall Street Journal reports, “has asked American International Group Inc. to recover millions of dollars worth of ‘unreasonable’ and ‘outrageous’ payments it made to executives as the insurance giant neared a collapse earlier this year or face legal action for violating state law.”

If Wall Street’s an easy mark for crimefighters, then AIG’s boardroom is a mobster social club. Like past mobsters John Gotti and Joe Margiotta, the giant insurance company’s former CEO, Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, has been the focus of intensive criminal investigations for several years. (See the September 17 Daily Flog: “Deep inside AIG — the profits of doom.”)

Cuomo’s letter today to AIG demands info on its execs’ bonuses while the company was sliding downhill and its good-time-Charlie road trips right when it was getting a government bailout.

As Wall Street continues to spin out of control, it’s not only lawyers like Cuomo who will profit — either politically or monetarily.

As an act of solidarity with the gasping newspaper industry, I’ll point you to a December 4, 2007, story in the now-defunct New York Sun. Annie Karni‘s piece, “Tidal Wave of Lawyers Nears, Bar Data Forewarn,” notes that there are 1.14 million lawyers in the U.S. and that one out of every 10 of them live and work in New York City.

To make matters worse, the New York State Bar extrudes lawyers as if it were an Iowa sausage factory:

In July, 10,907 students sat for the bar — an increase of more than 20 percent since 2000 — and a record 70.6 percent of them passed the bar.

At that rate, tiemakers are sure to survive the recession.