Tags: Pataki | Cuomo | Greenberg | AIG

Pataki, Cuomo: New York Should End Greenberg Probe

Image: Pataki, Cuomo: New York Should End Greenberg Probe Hank Greenberg

Monday, 13 May 2013 11:42 AM

By Dan Weil

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Two former New York governors have put their political differences aside to call for an end to the state's probe of former AIG head Hank Greenberg.

Democrat Mario Cuomo and his Republican successor George Pataki say the investigation by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is a waste of time and money.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, the pair — who between them occupied the Executive Mansion in Albany from 1983-2006 — say "the continued pursuit" of Greenberg is "morally wrong."

"From landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day to building one of New York's largest companies, Hank Greenberg has been a patriot who has played a vital role in advancing U.S. interests in global trade and national security," they write.

The two former governors admit they rarely see eye-to-eye, but say they "share a keen interest in making sure that justice is fairly administered in the state of New York."

They compare the eight-year case against Greenberg to that of the interminable Jarndyce v. Jarndyce in Dickens' classic "Bleak House."

"The Greenberg civil litigation concerns the accounting for two entirely proper transactions that took place well over a decade ago — neither of which had any impact on the net income or shareholder equity of AIG," they write.

The state withdrew a claim for damages against Greenberg last month, and that should have been the end of the matter, Cuomo and Pataki say.

But instead of dropping the case, Schneiderman's office decided to pursue Greenberg, now 88, for injunctive relief, seeking to ban him from trading securities or serving as a company director.

"Mr. Greenberg has never worked in the securities industry, and he hasn't been an officer or director of a public company for eight years. There is also no reason to suppose he intends to do so in the future," they write. "Simply stated, the attorney general office's pursuit of injunctive relief against Mr. Greenberg is a waste of time and money."

"Given all the critical issues at hand, and the attorney general office's limited resources, the futile pursuit of a dead-end case that should never have been brought isn't a worthwhile endeavor,” they write. “We call upon the New York attorney general's office to use its powers more wisely, and to move on to more fruitful cases."

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