NEW YORK - Former New York Stock Exchange Chairman Richard Grasso has won a partial victory in his legal fight to hold on to his $187.5 million compensation package.
The New York Appellate Division in Manhattan yesterday threw out four rulings against Grasso that had been made by a lower court last year.
The high court has not yet addressed other issues at the heart of the dispute. They include whether Grasso is entitled to a jury trial, and whether he can be ordered to pay back the disputed money without any trial, as the lower court judge ordered.
The four rulings Grasso won, dealing with technical issues, were reversed on the grounds that the state attorney general did not have the authority to pursue the counts in the first place.
Grasso's attorney, Gerson Zweifach, declined to comment.
The state is expected to appeal, said Darren Dopp, a spokesman for Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who originally pressed the case. The decision will be up to his successor, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, whose spokesman said only that the office was reviewing the matter.
"This was just a technical issue related to some of the counts and was not the subject of the summary judgment we won" requiring Grasso to pay back more than $100 million in compensation, Spitzer said.
"That summary judgment motion is really the critical issue here," Spitzer said.
In January, an attorney fighting to retain Grasso's compensation package told the higher court that a fully informed "blue-chip" board of directors had approved the compensation, and that Grasso should not be forced to give it back.
The state Attorney General's Office contends that the compensation was unreasonable under state laws governing not-for-profit organizations.
Spitzer, elected governor in November, had argued that Grasso was not entitled to more than $18.3 million, only a portion of what he was paid, because he left the exchange early. Grasso left amid public criticism of his compensation. He has denied any wrongdoing.