JP Morgan Managers Being Told Trade Loss is $9 Billion

This news report has been updated

Banking competitors are trying to lure away top talent at JP Morgan by highlighting the recent prop trading losses are likely to affect bonuses and Jamie Dimon isn’t being honest about how bad the loss will be. On July 13th the banking giant will announce 2nd quarter earnings and a real-time number is expected on how many billions net income gets wacked with because the London whale trade has been wound down or they’re willing to admit how bad the wind down will be at based on how the trade looks at the end of June. Last week Mark DeCambre at the New York Post wrote his JPM sources expect the loss to be between $4-6 billion – JPM’s estimate in May was only $2bn. But I heard this week JPM managing directors are being told total losses on the trade are estimated to be more. To the tune of $9 billion – Ouch!

That could be two quarters worth of net income and since JPM staffers are paid in part on how the whole company earns that rumor about a yearend lack luster bonus is looking more like a reality. Not good if you are killing your quota this year and working in a group that has nothing to do with the wrong way derivative trade. So a few seasoned wealth managers I spoke with are weighing competitor offers and seriously thinking of jumping ship – even if that means they give up their not yet vest $JPM stock.

Of course JPM can use accounting tricks to make the trading loss look better on final quarterly income statements. They can also choose to stay in parts of the trade so they don’t have to back a full loss right away. I highlighted last month how litigation reserves can be added or taken away to move the net income number around when they need it. But considering the recent news heat they’ve gotten on how low the legal reserves already are for the size of the RMBS putback problem…they’d be pretty damn arrogant to try to play with that number in the face of their regulators. Of course if their other trading departments make good on another trading bet, like being short silver, that could help offset losses. But loosing $9 billion on a single trade strategy gone so very wrong will put a lot of pressure on the White House’s favorite banker and make the Senate look even more foolish for their fluffy congressional hearings on the failed trade. If a $9bn gross trading loss becomes reality then the 3 notch downgrade by Moody’s could slid even further which increases their cost of borrowing and well – that sucks for anyone contingent on a JPM paycheck.

UPDATE 6-28-12: This morning the New York Times Dealbook rewrote my scoop about a possible $9bn loss for JPM and didn’t credit me for reporting this first. They’ve done journalism theft like this before when I was scooping them at the New York Post during the financial crisis. Times reporters like Andrew Ross Sorkin led the scoop stealing behavior during 08 and this morning I see him doing the same thing on CNBC.Sorkin claimed ‘his sources’ were saying reported losses will be closer to $4-6bn – a number he read on June 21st when Mark DeCambre (my former jurno peer) 1st reported it at the New York Post. Scoops are assets for journalist and I don’t appreciate the New York Times or Sorkin taking my hard-earned research and sourcing and using it as their own without a mention or link to my original reporting. If you think this is wrong- write them, comment on their sites or tweet about it. Only together we can hold other journalist accountable and demand accuracy.

Editors Note: I am a professional journalist who has written for most major publications with a track record in breaking news and investigative reporting. This is a news site funded by crowdsourcing and coming ads not a blog. Please credit and source it that way.

Poytner Finds More Fabricated Stories by Hearst: Shows Deeper Editorial Problems

UPDATE 6-26-12: Poytner’s Silverman found another made up story by Paresh Jha that the Hearst editors haven’t identified yet. He wrote this morning he’s going to stay on the story until Hearst starts answering questions and details which stories are made up so the reader can figure out what’s news v. fiction. Now that’s my kind of Journalist!

It looks like Hearst editorial director for Connecticut, David McCumber, is dealing with more than just made up quotes from his recently fired reporter. Craig Silverman over at Poytner has found what appears to be an entire made up story. One with funny last names that should have stood out for his managing editor’s spot check, who Silverman points out could have easily done a white pages check. Something the Poytner journalist took only a few hours to figure out!

This goes to show McCumber has some more explaining to do and the journalism watchdogs over at Poytner think he hasn’t been transparent enough with his readers. But it’s not just his readers McCumber is going to have to answer too. Bigger brass at Hearst Corp could be placing a microscope over his editorial practices because he’s up for leaving the CT newspapers to get a job as head of investigative reporting for all of Hearst papers. Well that’s according to a single source that is somewhat senior within the Hearst Newspapers group.

When I asked McCumber if this was true I got a quick no comment email from him. But then he went on to say “investigative reporting is done on the local level at our newspapers and is the purview of the individual editors, and I don’t expect that to change.”

Humm, except during my time on staff at Greenwich Time it was McCumber who brought in a seasoned journalist who had worked under him at the Seattle PI (Hearst shut down the paper) to do rookie reporter training. The journalist was working as an investigative reporter for all of Hearst newspapers…so it would make sense that McCumber’s been trying to push the idea of a central investigative reporting unit and create some sort of new job to get the heck out of CT. Remember McCumber was arrested for a DUI last year and court records show he made a deal on the charges. It’s unclear if that meant keeping his drivers license.

Jurno Awards, like the one the fired reporter Paresh Jha won last month, make editors look good. Paresh even boasted about how hard the New Canaan News team works last month when he won the award from the Connecticut Society of Professional journalist. Except now we learn the hard work was coming up with made up sources.

The weekly New Canaan News paper doesn’t have a high circulation in town – Most residents read The Advertiser which is owned by the town’s Treasure, and a long time Republican, Hersham. So Paresh’s reporting honors could have really helped the weekly gain credibility. But now that we know he was violating a fundamental rule of journalism to get colorful stories it’s going to be hard to earn the town’s respect back. So Hearst officials will likely be looking at where the process broke down and what drove the lack of editorial inspection if they plan to move the EIC out and on to a new shiny job.

Hearst Journalist Paresh Jha Fired for Fabricating Sources at New Canaan News

Update 6-25-12 (2:15pm): A former elected political official from New Canaan told me they were misquoted by Paresh while running for local office and complained to his editor Ashley Varese last year but no changes were made. Varese has not responded for comment

Hearst Newspaper’s lead reporter for New Canaan, Ct was fired yesterday after its editors discovered he’d been making up quotes and sources. Paresh Jha started with the paper two years ago and was initially assigned as a court reporter. New Canaanites have seen his local politics and feature reporting on the front page of the New Canaan News for over a year now. The paper announced the news during a slow news cycle on Friday after 5pm, initially admitting 25 instances had been found and the stories affected were taken down.

Hearst CT News Editor in Chief , David McCumber, didn’t list which stories had fabricated parts but I found a recent piece titled ‘Teen Marijuana use on the Rise – New Canaan and Darien teens think it’s OK’ removed. The cover story ran in the June 1st, 2012 edition and leads with a Darien High School student talking about pot smoking saying, “I think in our school, there is a general consensus that it’s OK and people talk about it openly. If you think it’s wrong you’re in the minority.”

Now that’s a pretty strong quote for a reporter to get a High School student to say on the record and it’s unclear if this was fabricated but it came from a story that was just removed. It begs to question if Paresh was under pressure to get quotes like this from his editors, did it drive his decision to violate of the most important rules of journalism? We don’t get to make stuff up!

Ironically Paresh had just won a reporting award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalist.
New Canaan News wrote last month, “Jha, who’s been with the New Canaan News for two years, earned a first-place award in the community non-daily category for his in-depth series, “Enabling underage partying,” which focused on parents’ roles in underage drinking.”

His editors are still fact checking his stories to see if they find additional made up quotes or sourcing on top of the 25 they reported last night. Paresh’s reporting showed up in other Hearst-owned papers like the CTPost, Stamford Advocate, and Darien News. His editors haven’t told readers which quotes were made up yet. It’s unclear what Hearst is doing to make sure if the AP picked up any of his reporting that it’s corrected. Kind of makes for a clusterfuck.

The fired reporter was the only staff journalist on the New Canaan News Masthead and works under editors Ashley Varese and Belinda Stasivkiewicz. Both ladies run the New Canaan and Darien weekly print papers for Hearst. Ashley is the Editor-in-Chief and would be responsible for story ideas, assignment and possible line editing of Paresh’s stories. Belinda is the Managing Editor and responsible for getting the stories to print. When I worked for Hearst CT Newspapers (Greenwich Time) one of the M.E.’s role was fact checking; they are operationally in-charge and responsible for the final print. Belinda recently tweeted she was stressed with her upcoming wedding and if she was responsible for the bulk of the fact checking I have to wonder if that contributed to her taking her eye off the ball in the editing process. Belinda’s Linkedin profile shows she graduated from Quinnipiac journalism school in 2007 and primary interest are arts and fashion. She’s been the managing editor of both local weeklies since 2009. But at the end of the day both Ashley and Belinda should be responsible for Paresh’s reporting.

Twenty-five instances of fabricated quotes over the course of a year shows a serious breakdown in Hearst editorial practices. It also highlights how an under-paid and under-staffed weekly paper, even one that should have high-end edit standards like Hearst, can fall apart when there aren’t enough bodies to do the time consuming research and editing needed to print quality journalism.

Varese and Stasivkiewicz didn’t return emails for comment. I asked about their fact checking process – one I’m sure they’ll be scrambling to revamp. There is also blame at the most senior level, David McCumber EIC of all Hearst CT Newspapers. McCumber fell on his sword a bit telling the papers readers, “We apologize to our readers,” McCumber said. “A newspaper’s credibility is its most important asset. This is a gross violation of our standards, and of the New Canaan News’ well-earned reputation.”

Paresh Jha could not be reached for comment. But with violations like this his jurno career is over. McCumber did not respond to questions about if the fabricated stories will be detailed so New Canaanites can see which news events were not factually reported. I did get a somewhat stressed email from him asking who I was reporting this for – My readers obviously David.

UPDATE 6-25-12: Potyner, a jouranlism education group, has picked up on my suggestion that McCumber needs to offer transparency and list the stories that had fabricated elements in them. Potyner’s blogger, Craig Silverman, has some strong words about the situation but knowing how Hearst operates it’s likely going to take public reader response to get them to follow journalistic standards and inform the reader which stories are wrong.

Editors Note: If you have ever been the subject of one of Paresh stories and felt like you were miss-quoted or facts were made up I’d love to hear from you. teribuhl@gmail.com. If you think McCumber should list each fabricated story you can contact him at: David.McCumber@scni.com. If you are interested in my prior relationship or staff reporting job with McCumber’s paper you can read about here.

For those new to my reporting I was just named one of the top five financial journalist to watch, by the Huffington Post, for outing fraud and going up against the establishment to inform the reader best.

Greenwich Realtors Use Cops to Try and Silence Blogger Christopher Fountain

Christopher Fountain, a popular and outspoken Greenwich real estate blogger, is being strong armed by the Greenwich Association of Realtors for his writings on the distressed state of local McMansion sales. The GAR went so far as to try to use the local police to scare him off but he’s fighting back with plans to file an anti-trust complaint with the DOJ. And now that the scuffle has gotten national media attention the GAR is ducking in the sand.

I wrote about it for housing publication ml-implode.com. Click here to read how I caught a GAR VP lying about the event.

Syncora Lawyers Could Clear Big Legal Hurdle making JP Morgan pay Billions in Putback Suits

The mortgage crisis litigation team at Paterson Belknap Taylor & Webb had their big RMBS putback hearing yesterday in New York Federal Court. It centered on one of the first monolines, Syncora, to highlight the alleged massive securities fraud Bear Stearns and EMC were engaged in when they sold billions of residential mortgage backed securities to Wall Street investors at the beginning of the financial crisis. Syncora’s lawyers at PBWT were asking for the court to allow them more damages if they can prove there was a material adverse effect in their breach of contract case against the Bear Stearns companies now owned by JP Morgan.

At the center of this highly watched legal debate is whether RMBS investors will have to do the costly legwork to prove exactly which loans were losses and how that loss was caused by a breach of contract. In the case of the $600mn-ish security Syncora is arguing over, that equates to digging through around 10,000 loans – which would delay discovery and be a huge financial burden to the a smaller sized monoline. So instead, PBWT’s Philip Forlenza and Erik Haas are arguing if they can prove the whole Bear Stearns RMBS sausage machine was so corrupt and irresponsible the entire due dilly process was knowingly broken and as a result the humpty dumpty of a RMBS they bought can’t be put back together again then the whole damn securities should be repurchased. In legal terms that means they don’t want the judge to make them prove loss causation for each loan and they want a return of all the money they paid out to investors when the RMBS failed.

JP Morgan’s outside counsel Bob Sacks of Sullivan Cromwell hardly challenged the PBWT lawyer’s legal theory about loss causation and instead led a condescending oral argument ‘telling’ Judge Crotty this isn’t an issue to decide til trial. In other words, it was just another kick the can down the road game by JP Morgan because, as I pointed out a few weeks ago, they don’t want to up their RMBS putback legal reserves and take a hit to regulatory capital levels. Sacks, represented the stereotypical, puffy-chested, arrogant Wall Street lawyer Sullivan Cromwell is known to breed, but I was surprised to see him talk down to the federal judge and insult his seasoned experience with lines like, “Your honor how can you decide on this when they haven’t even presented any evidence yet.” Judge Crotty politely reminded Sacks he does have equity power to make this decision and asked once again if JPM/Bear/EMC’s argument is still the RMBS failed because of the financial crisis and not because of a breach of reps and warranties. And Sacks boldly answered, “YES!”

The notion that no evidence has been presented yet in this case is absurd considering PBWT has brought in over 30 whistleblowers and shown internal emails/memos from Bear Stearns telling its staff to not waste money on loan level due diligence. The whole Sullivan and Cromwell oral argument read like an attempt to deflect from the real legal issues on the table because lawyers like Sacks know how serious this is for JP Morgan’s balance sheet if the judge decides in Syncora’s favor. I emailed Sacks after the hearing asking if he’s usually this arrogant when speaking with a Federal judge but surprise surprise I didn’t get a comment.

The mahogany paneled 20th floor court room overlooking a beautiful skyline of lower Manhattan was packed with lawyers from other firms. Presumably all looking to lift legal arguments for their clients who are also suing JP Morgan/ Bear for ,in total, $120bn of mortgage securities violations. San Francisco-based Attorney Isaac Gradman called the Syncora hearing one of the top five to watch this summer writing at his legal blog Subprime Shakeout:

“I’ve discussed at length how important the definition of materiality/loss causation will be to the ease of proof in put-back litigation. No single issue would cause a bigger swing in the pendulum of losses from investors to banks than a ruling that put-backs do not require a showing that the identified breach of reps and warranties actually caused the loan to go into default.”

Judge Crotty actually asked PBWT’s Forlenza why he needs this decision now and Forlenza explained it’s critical so they know how much data and witnesses they will have to gather to prepare for trial.

But in reality this is simply another BIG but important hurdle for the underdog Syncora to win early on so they can force JP Morgan to shell out billions for the sins of Bear’s mortgage traders in a settlement and avoid a trial which isn’t scheduled til next year.

Gradman agrees and told me in an interview this week, “This would be the quickest path to a favorable settlement for the monolines. It’s major leverage if they win this loss causation decision.”

But Crotty’s decision on how investors can win damages against banking giant JP Morgan, if they prove their case, isn’t all about a group of monolines getting billions of lost dollars back. It also hits at the core of investor confidence in the securitization market. Securitization doesn’t have to be the dirty word congress and liberal journalists have made it to be. The markets actually needs it to keep the money chain flowing. The issue is we need securities contracts that mean what they say and more importantly are upheld by the courts when challenged for things like lying to the raters/insurers about the homeowners loan level detail – a fact my reporting and the PBWT lawyers have already shown really happen.

In the view of powerful institutional investors, like Blackrock, the RMBS contract obligations were clear, but the banks simply are not adhering to the bargain. This putback litigation is now all about the banks trying every legal maneuver conceivable to re-write the deal. Question is will conservative federal judges like Crotty allow the banks to do this?

Reuters legal columnist Alison Frankel interviewed Blackrock’s Randy Robertson yesterday who summed up one of the key problems with Judges allowing the banks like JP Morgan to keep kicking the RMBS putback litigation down the road.
“Robertson’s view: Litigation — or, more precisely, the conflict that leads to litigation — stands in the way of an MBS revival because investors don’t believe issuers will live up to contract terms.”

We have no idea when Crotty will make his decision except he said the lawyers will “hear from him shortly”. That could be 10 days or a few months. But if we get a wishy-washy I don’t want to rule now brief from him then it’s back to watching what the more aggressive Judges are doing in New York State court. A judicial system that’s at least shown it isn’t afraid to stand up to big law pompous Wall Street lawyers like Sacks and have already ruled against Obama’s favorite banker Jaime Dimon.

Spongetech Fraudster Moskowitz makes SEC Plea Deal

Nearly six months after Steven Moskowitz plead guilty of one criminal count in the Spongetech pump and dump stock scheme the Securities and Exchange Commission got him to settle their securities fraud suit. On May 30th court filings show Moskowitz, co-conspirator of one of the most audacious penny stock frauds that cheated thousands of regular Joe’s out of life savings, agreed to be permanently banned from the industry and payback any profits and bonus he earned while President of Spongetech.

The number of millions Moskowitz will be ordered in restitution is still to be determined by New York Federal Judge Irizarry. The government’s suit, filed in May 2010, claimed the company controlled by Moskowitz and Michael Metter made $52 million in ill-gotten gains. Moskowitz doesn’t admit or deny guilt in the regulators settlement but then the SEC throws in this special condition that he can’t publicly deny he didn’t do any of the securities violations, which included fraud, that they sued him for. This of course could be a boost for the shareholder class action civil suits that are moving forward in New York Federal Court but considering Moskowitz has plead poor to the courts since his arrest we still don’t know how in the heck the SEC is going collect their financial judgment. Remember Moskowitz’s partner and Greenwich Radio station owner Michael Metter is still fighting the DOJ and SEC fraud charges and has yet to admit any wrong doing. And court records don’t exactly show either men have double-digit millions sitting in banks accounts waiting to be seized.

Now we see even though the DOJ got 6 guilty pleas in the case they have a serious evidence problem in their case against the last holdout – Mr. Metter. Aaron Elstein of Crain’s New York reported last month the DOJ got slapped in the face by the judge in Metter’s case when she denied their ability to use any electronic info they got off seized personal computers of Metter because they took too damn long to get through discovery and show Metter’s attorney what they had. If this sounds like a rookie legal mistake let’s not forget this is the same DOJ office that lost the case against the Bear Stearns Hedge Fund managers. Maybe the DOJ found some hidden emails on Metter’s computer showing millions hidden in off-shore bank accounts in Israel (both men are Jewish) and can tell the SEC where to get their recovery from but that’s a long shot.

The SEC made some progress this spring in getting the assets of Biztalkradio.net, which owns the local Greenwich radio station and three other stations, added as a relief defending in their suit. Metter has been a partial owner and chairman of this legitimate business for years. But the SEC added on claims that the Spongetech duo used the Radio biz to embezzle money via Spongetech stock. So the regulator has forced Metter to sell the stations and if there is a buyer the profits go to the SEC. No decent offers have come in yet and it’s highly doubtful they’d get the $1mn asking price on the Greenwich station. On top of that, in February we saw an upstate New York secured lender, Solution Funding, magically pop up and claim if the stations sell they are owed a few million also so that asset isn’t likely to produced real dollars for aggrieved shareholders or the SEC.

Court records show Metter is still getting paid around $6,800 bi-weekly by the radio biz although the SEC controls how he can spend it. Since his May 2010 arrest two years ago that means he’s been able to earn a few hundred thousand dollars off a company that alleged was money laundering about $5 million for Spongetech and its affiliates. He also still gets to live in his $2 million mid-county Greenwich home but hey at least the SEC took his yacht away. The only ray of hope for shareholders is that a letter filed by the SEC in court says a receiver should be appointed soon for Biztalkradio.net and we can assume the receiver would oust Metter from his current $100k+ job and move the stations sell along.

A total of seven people from lawyers to men who helped move money around for Metter and Moskowitz were arrested in the Spongetech securities fraud case and 6 have them have now plead guilty to criminal charges (3 of the 6 have been sentenced to jail time). The Spongetech duo has been charged with fraud, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, money-laundering and perjury in the DOJ’s case but Moskowitz and Metter the masterminds behind the scheme are still not locked up. Remember this was company New York Post trained investigative reporters Roddy Boyd and Kaja Whitehouse warned was a fraud a year before there were any arrests. I even reported for Greenwich Time three months before his arrest that Metter could lose the radio station if the SEC charged him. Metter even tried to sue the three reporters outing his fraud for defamation before his arrest which was of course tossed out. The SEC can fine and ban Wall Street criminals all day long but when it happens so late after the financial crime has been committed collection efforts become that much harder and the legal impact that much softer.

More Bear Stearns Executives get off without Paying Millions in Shareholder Settlement Cost

Bear Stearns lawyers at Paul Weiss are slapping them self on the back today after stockholders and pension funds who sued Bear executives for misleading them about the health of the company months before it failed agreed to a cash settlement of only $275 million on Wednesday. The suit’s settlement lead by Michigan’s retirement fund, who lost $61 million in the collapse of Bear’s stock in March 2008, is being hailed as the 5th largest class action suit by bank shareholders. But considering the evidence that has come out in the last for years regarding what Bear executives like Tom Marano and Alan Schwartz knew about the health of the firm in late 07 early 08 while they were pushing shareholders to buy more stock this settlement number and the terms tied to it is a joke!

Beside the fact that the Bear executives named in the suit didn’t have to admit guilt neither do they have to take a hit to their fat wallets. According to a person familiar to the settlement the Directors and Officers Insurance Bear held is picking up the whole damn tab. But even if JP Morgan, Bear’s successor owner, wanted to encourage the insurance company to pass on any settlement payment responsiblity to the likes of Tom Marano, Alan Schwartz, Jimmy Cayne, Sam Molinaro, & Ace Greenberg they can’t.

“At the time of the Bear Stearns merger with JP Morgan the Bear bylaws were changed so that the Bear executives have indemnification rights from JP Morgan,” says securities attorney Brett Sherman.

Some of the most damaging evidence about who at Bear knew what and when came out in the Monoline suits against Bear/JPM, led by attorneys at PBWT, for rmbs fraud and the FCIC report.

“It’s the scam that never ended” wrote Sherman on Wall St. Law Blog. “As late as October 2007, Bear mortgage chief Tom Marano bragged at the firm’s investor day that Bear had a ‘mortgage franchise for all seasons’. Remember that, mostly due to mortgages, Bear Stearns took a write-down of nearly $2 billion about a month later, and in December 2007, the company announced an $850 million loss for the quarter.”

An amended complaint filed by monoline Assured Guaranty against Bear/JPM last year showed Marano was shorting the stock of some institutional investors buying the very Bear issued RMBS because he knew the mortgage securities market was tanking and they’d be stuck with billions of worthless securities. Meanwhile lawsuits outline Marano was telling institutional investors that the Bear traders were invested in these securities also when in fact they were selling out of them.

In the case of Bear’s CEO Alan Schwartz the legal argument isn’t really about what he knew or didn’t know. The point is he had an obligation to know and instead went on TV (CNBC) to do damage control. Bear’s COO of fixed income describes it best in William Cohen’s book House of Cards – Paul Friedman on liquidity (remember that Schwartz was on CNBC wed):

“I had spent the first part of the week, Monday, Tuesday, open till Wednesday noon, almost every waking minute, talking to customers and lenders… I could take them through our whole liquidity profile.

But by Wednesday, I couldn’t do it with a straight face and feel I wasn’t breaking the law, and so I had a series of conference calls set up for Wednesday afternoon and I just canceled them all.”

Emails found in discovery have shown a mirror of double talk by multiple senior levels of executives at Bear. You can see some of this behavior in Nick Verbitsky’s documentary film, Confidence Game, about the failure of Bear Stearns that is currently being played on the international film festival circuit.

The crux of theses shareholders suits is really that Bear’s business model – which revolved around manufacturing and selling fraudulent mortgage bonds – was a sham. Because the revenues generated by this business model were a fraud, everything from Bear’s public statements about its risk-appetite to its financial condition were materially misleading to Bear shareholders. Securities attorneys point out the essence of securities fraud is that you cannot deprive investors of the right and ability to make informed decisions about whether to buy or sell stocks.

“When the main revenue driver of your business is a charade, how can investors possibly make informed decisions? They can’t. And that is fraud,” says Sherman.

The likes of Michigan Retirement Services fund might be willing to fold for pennies on the dollar in a toothless class action suit but keep in mind there is still an active SEC securities fraud suit/investigation against Bear. If there was an enforcement action lobbed on some of the players involved, who currently still make millions working on the Street (Schwartz is at Guggenheim Capital, Marano at ResCap/Alley Bank) the individual shareholders suing who opted out of a class action suit and are litigating Bear for selling a totally bogus image of the firm to the public could have a better recovery than what we’ve seen today.

Keep in mind a New York federal judge will still have to approve the settlement so it’s not a done deal yet.

According to Sherman, managing attorney of The Sherman Firm, “former Bear shareholders unwilling to participate in low-ball the class settlement are not stuck. They still have the right to opt-out of the settlement and pursue claims on their own.”

But for now the lawyers for Bear execs at Paul Weiss basically earned their clients another get of jail free card this week.

The case is: Bear Stearns Companies Inc Securities, Derivative and ERISA Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 08-md-01963