Image: Richard Fuld
Jim Young / Reuters

Nightly News   |  April 29, 2010

Were Lehman execs paid millions more?

A former Lehman Brothers lawyer alleges that the company repeatedly underreported how much top executives were paid. NBC’s Lisa Myers shares the details of the Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine report.

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>> us tonight, george, thanks.

>>> now to the anger that's been directed at wall street lately, and a story from bloomberg "business week" magazine, that will likely add fuel to the fire . it has to do with how much money one prominent ceo made before his firm collapsed. it may have been a whole lot more than he told congress he made. our report from nbc's lisa myers .

>> during the two years of the financial crisis --

>> reporter: before goldman sachs executives became the arch villains of the financial crisis there was this man, richard fuld, the former ceo of lehman brothers . lehman brothers went bankrupt in september 2008 , almost taking the entire economy with it. the next month, fuld was hauled before congress. congressman henry waxman pounded fuld, pointing to a chart showing he had taken home almost $500 million since 2000 .

>> is that fair for the ceo of a company that's now bankrupt to have made that kind of money? it's just unimaginable to so many people.

>> i would say to you the $500 number is not accurate.

>> reporter: he said he actually took home $310 million. this former lehman lawyer oliver budda was watching the testimony from home.

>> i was shocked and decided i needed to double check before i let my outrage really grow.

>> reporter: as first reported by bloomberg business week, budda says he went to public documents and compiled these spread sheets. fuld pocketed much more than he claimed, $529 million.

>> what i found was he had actually taken home more than $200 million more than he had indicated to congressman waxman.

>> reporter: budda , who worked on lehman 's compensation reports claims the company repeatedly underreported and tried to bury details on how much top executives were paid. he said he complained to his superiors and after he left the company, complained to the s.e.c. and lehman 's board. neither responded. richard fuld's lawyer says lehman 's board found budda 's allegations to be without merit. the lawyer did not comment on allegations about fuld's congressional testimony. bud budda says he's coming forward now trying to focus more attention on bad behavior by wall street . lisa myers , nbc news, washington .

>>> up next as we continue