Recently, the SEC settled with Bank of America over charges that the company mislead its investors about the $3.6 billion in bonuses paid by Merrill as the brokerage was being taken over. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, however, isn’t buying it. He’s refusing to approve the settlement until it can be shown that the $33 million Bank of America agreed to pay is adequate. That’s nice, but he best part is that the judge is being hilariously sarcastic during the hearings.
For example, when Bank of America’s lawyer (who at one point during the hearing exclaimed: “My God! Bonuses on Wall Street? It is not a matter of surprise,”) explained that the majority of the $3.6 billion was shared among 39,000 employees who received an average of $91,000 each, the judge replied:
“I’m glad you think that $91,000 is not a lot of money,” the judge said. “I wish the average American was making $91,000.”
When Bank of America argued that it hadn’t used bailout money specifically to pay bonuses, the judge was similarly unimpressed:
“Money is money, the last time I checked,” Judge Rakoff responded.