2. Joe's Junk Sale
Hey, Joe Gregory, where you going with that commode in your hands?
Sotheby's (BID) announced Tuesday that the former Lehman Brothers president is auctioning off a collection of antique furniture and artwork from the Long Island mansion which he sold in June after listing it for $22 million. The auction house said Gregory and his wife Niki would be unloading "important English furniture from some of the most notable cabinet makers, along with European porcelain and decorations."
Our friends at Reuters confirmed that among the items listed for auction are two commodes -- chests of drawers -- made in the 1700s, estimated to be worth up to $120,000 and $400,000. Also up for sale is a painting listed for $60,000 to $80,000 by the Dutch artist Bartholomeus Assteyn titled A Still Life of Grapes, Cherries, Peaches and Other Fruit in a Basket, with a Rose and a Dragonfly on a Stone Ledge.Hmmm. That's an interesting title for a work of art. But we think we have a better one. How about Fruit Portrait of a Fallen Wall Street Titan who Flew Too Close to the Sun While Commuting to Work by Helicopter? Either that or Still Life of an Overleveraged Banker and His Overspending Wife. Yep, either one of those would capture the essence of the work quite nicely, don't you think? Not that the pieces are not exquisite mind you. Clearly Joe Gregory's taste in furniture was only exceeded by his taste for risk, the kind of risk that would eventually sink the 158-year-old investment bank, not to mention the global economy. Not that Gregory is the sole executive to blame for Lehman's collapse of course. Lehman's sad story had many authors from Dick Fuld all the way down. However, it's worth noting that a number of former Lehman employees paint Gregory as being consumed by issues like diversity as opposed to more pressing problems like its mortgage exposure. Diversity and promoting the ill-equipped Erin Callan to the CFO spot that is. Anyway, Gregory's soon-to-be-sold collection is certainly more tasteful than his $233 million claim against Lehman's estate in 2009 to recover deferred stock compensation. That joke of a claim, by the way, is still outstanding. Gregory's stuff, on the other hand, is on its way out to the person holding the highest paddle. And with nobody being punished for Lehman's multi-billion collapse, that's probably the only paddling we're going to see in this sad affair. (Full Disclosure: The author is a former Lehman employee who fondly remembers the good old days.)
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