Some people are questioning Gary Cohn’s exit deal from Goldman Sachs. He has left the Wall Street firm to head President Trump’s National Economic Council.
According to Bloomberg, Gary Cohn will walk away with a total of $284 million. This includes $65 million in cash and stock tied to Goldman Sachs’ future performance, as well as about $220 million of Goldman equity he already held or was waiting to mature.
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Well now The New York Times is asking if people like Gary Cohn are allowed to expedite the realization of their stock options years early because Goldman Sachs wants to encourage its people to go into service, or because the firm expects something in return.
Richard W. Painter, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School and the chief White House ethics lawyer during the George W. Bush administration, told the paper, “They’re playing a game, and they’re playing a game to make this person [Gary Cohn] feel beholden to Goldman Sachs.”
“If Goldman Sachs has a contractual right to keep the stock, but they on a case-by-case basis almost always let you keep the stock if you go into government service, then that’s what’s called an extraordinary payment,” Mr. Painter added.
The interesting thing here is that if Donald Trump’s Presidency proves to be a boon for Wall Street then Gary Cohn would have made even more money had he stayed with Goldman. But if it is not, then Goldman stock will drop and Cohn will be able to buy it all back for much less than he just pocketed whenever he leaves the Trump Administration.
And Gary Cohn has said that he will not be taking any compensation while he serves in Donald Trump’s White House. Not that he needs the money after his $285 million pay day. And people no one goes to work at the White House for the money anyway.
So is it possible that Goldman Sachs expects Gary Cohn to influence economic policies in such a way that will make it a lot more money? If you think not, we have a bridge in Brooklyn that we would like to sell you.