Langone says he won't settle Grasso suit

/ Source: The Associated Press

Kenneth G. Langone, the former head of the New York Stock Exchange's compensation committee, said Thursday he will not seek a settlement in the lawsuit brought against him and former exchange chief Richard A. Grasso by New York's attorney general.

In a written statement issued to reporters after a shareholder meeting in Dallas for The Home Depot Inc., on whose board Langone serves, the former NYSE board member said he did nothing wrong in pushing for Grasso's $187.5 million compensation package.

Langone is accused of misleading the exchange board into approving Grasso's pay package, specifically an $18 million retirement account that went unlisted on documents given to board members, according to Spitzer. The attorney general, who filed suit against Grasso, Langone and the NYSE on Monday, is seeking $18 million in damages from Langone and at least $100 million from Grasso.

"I won't settle this case and I am taking a stand because I know that the decisions the board made were based on the most expert judgment and the most thorough analysis," Langone said in the statement.

Grasso wrote in an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that he would not settle with Spitzer. Like Grasso, Langone also accused Spitzer, a rising star in New York politics, of using the case for his own gain.

"I am eager to have all the facts come out in this case, especially since we've got the documentation, the integrity, and the truth on our side," Langone said. "It will soon be plain as day that Mr. Spitzer's case is built on little more than his own political opportunism."

A call to Spitzer's office seeking comment was not immediately returned.

At Atlanta-based Home Depot's meeting, Langone was re-elected to another one-year term to the company's board of directors. Grasso, who also sat on the board, did not stand for re-election.