The Year in Dumbness: A Quiz - TheStreet


What do Colin Powell, Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev and Alan Greenspan have in common, Wall Street-wise?

  • They're limited partners in a venture capital fund managed by former Defense Policy Board Chairman Richard Perle.
  • Like Roy Disney, they were all forced off the board of Walt Disney (DIS) - Get Report as their 72nd birthdays approached.
  • The defense team of former Tyco (TYC) CEO Dennis Kozlowski has revealed it will call them as character witnesses at Kozlowski's fraud trial.
  • They all received the Enron Prize for Distinguished Public Service.

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When the

New York Stock Exchange

this fall released a pile of documents related to the pay of then-Chairman Dick Grasso, one document contained a NYSE consultant's analysis of Grasso's offer to cap his age 60 lump-sum pension benefit at $122 million. According to the consultant, how large was the median comparable lump-sum benefit enjoyed by a group of Grasso's peers in the financial services industry?

  • $21 million.
  • $42 million.
  • $63 million.
  • $84 million.

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According to testimony at Kozlowski's trial, what was the annual salary of Mariola Tarnachowicz, the maid who went on Tyco's payroll to clean Kozlowski's New York apartment?

  • $50,000.
  • $60,000.
  • $70,000.
  • $80,000.

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Based on the figures in a lawsuit filed by nine illegal immigrants in November, how much would each have been paid on an annualized basis -- assuming a 40-hour workweek -- to clean


(WMT) - Get Report

stores in the middle of the night?

  • $15,785.
  • $18,571.
  • $20,459.
  • $22,995.

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When Mary Murphy left Tyco after about four years of working closely with Dennis Kozlowski -- and after a few months of sleeping with him -- the $90,000-a-year executive secretary received a retirement package that Kozlowski allowed was "a very generous agreement." Which of the following items was


part of Murphy's golden parachute, according to press reports?

  • Four more years of salary and benefits.
  • Forgiveness of a $299,000 mortgage on her home.
  • Full title to her Tyco-issued Chevy Blazer SUV.
  • A cash bonus of at least $62,000.

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Who wrote this about whom?

"I sat next to her, and halfway through the meeting, she turned to me and kindly offered to 'marry me off.'"

  • Former Merrill Lynch Internet analyst Henry Blodget, about Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO) founder Martha Stewart.
  • (AMZN) - Get Report CEO Jeff Bezos, about eBay (EBAY) - Get Report CEO Meg Whitman.
  • Oracle (ORCL) - Get Report CEO Larry Ellison, about Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) - Get Report CEO Carly Fiorina.
  • New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, about longtime Wall Street broker Muriel Seibert.

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Which of the following is


from a memo that Invesco chief compliance officer sent to Invesco's chief executive in January 2003, months before the mutual fund market-timing scandal broke?

  • "The Dynamics fund has experienced significant shareholder inflows and outflows that appear to be caused by market-timing activity. ... This type of activity is not in the best interests of the other fund shareholders."
  • "Invesco is becoming known as a timer-friendly complex."
  • "High volumes of market-timing activity increases sic the risk that portfolio managers will make errors, as is evidenced by recent compliance violations."
  • "Market-timers can and do interfere with a portfolio manager's decision-making process."

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A two-part question: Among the following companies -- all of which slid into bankruptcy in 2003 -- which was the first to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection? Which was the last?

  • Air Canada, the airline.
  • FAO, the toy retailer.
  • General Media, publisher of Penthouse Magazine.
  • Key3Media Group, operator of the once-mighty Comdex trade show.
  • Spiegel, the catalog retailer.
  • X10, the ubiquitous online advertiser of wireless spycams.

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Who owns the American Stock Exchange, anyway? At least, as of Dec. 5?

  • Its members.
  • The National Association of Securities Dealers.
  • The Philadelphia Stock Exchange.
  • GTCR Golder Rauner, a Chicago investment firm.

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This year, several former

Rite Aid

(RAD) - Get Report

executives either pleaded guilty to or were found guilty of charges stemming from accounting fraud at the drugstore chain. As the prosecution of the $1.6 billion fraud progressed, a lot of Rite Aid's outside-the-box employee compensation policies came to light. Which one of these pay-related incidents was


alleged by prosecutors to have occurred?

  • After ex-CEO Martin Grass was forced out in 1999, he signed at least eight backdated letters to other executives promising generous severance terms.
  • Rite Aid secretly gave a company co-owned by Grass $2.6 million to buy an 83-acre tract.
  • CFO Franklyn Bergonzi told the company's comptroller he'd have to "get dirty" by cooking the books, but offered him a $20,000 raise in return.
  • To compensate his secretary for typing documents crucial to the conspiracy, chief counsel Franklin Brown bought a finger-painting by her child for $25,000 -- ostensibly acquiring it for Rite Aid's corporate art collection.

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