From “Bankers Seek to Debunk Attack on Top 1%” on Bloomberg today:
Jamie Dimon, the highest-paid chief executive officer among the heads of the six biggest U.S. banks, turned a question at an investors’ conference in New York this month into an occasion to defend wealth.
“Acting like everyone who’s been successful is bad and because you’re rich you’re bad, I don’t understand it,” the JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) CEO told an audience member who asked about hostility toward bankers. “Sometimes there’s a bad apple, yet we denigrate the whole.”
Dimon, 55, whose 2010 compensation was $23 million, joined billionaires including hedge-fund manager John Paulson and Home Depot Inc. (HD) co-founder Bernard Marcus in using speeches, open letters and television appearances to defend themselves and the richest 1 percent of the population targeted by Occupy Wall Street demonstrators.
Tom Golisano, billionaire founder of payroll processer Paychex Inc. (PAYX) and a former New York gubernatorial candidate, said in an interview this month that while there are examples of excess, it’s “ridiculous” to blame everyone who is rich.
“If I hear a politician use the term ‘paying your fair share’ one more time, I’m going to vomit,” said Golisano, who turned 70 last month, celebrating the birthday with girlfriend Monica Seles, the former tennis star who won nine Grand Slam singles titles.
Ken Langone, 76, another Home Depot co-founder and chairman of the NYU Langone Medical Center, said he isn’t embarrassed by his success.
“I am a fat cat, I’m not ashamed,” he said last week in a telephone interview from a dressing room in his Upper East Side home. “If you mean by fat cat that I’ve succeeded, yeah, then I’m a fat cat. I stand guilty of being a fat cat.”
If this hasn’t yet fully engaged your gag reflex, go here to read more.
And if you care to know more about Jamie Dimon, may I suggest Gary Rivlin’s recent article for Politico: “JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon Strikes Back at Populist Anger.”
In the two years following the subprime collapse, JPMorgan Chase took more than $50 billion in losses, mainly on bad subprime mortgages.
That happened on the watch of Dimon, who took charge of JPMorgan Chase in 2004. Also under his tenure, JPMorgan admitted to congressional investigators that it had overcharged 10,000 military families on their mortgages and foreclosed on 54 of them; paid $154 million to settle charges filed by the SEC (without denying or admitting guilt) that it duped its own clients; and paid another $211 million in fines, along with $130 million in restitution, to settle charges that it defrauded local governments in 31 states. There was also the $722 million in fines and restitution payments the bank was forced to make after JPMorgan confederates were caught paying off officials in Jefferson County, Alabama (home to Birmingham), to secure a municipal finance deal that helped lead to the largest government bankruptcy in U.S. history.