The Madeleine Brand Show

The Madeleine Brand Show is a daily, two-hour program that looks at news and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by Madeleine Brand

Lehman execs paid $700 million shortly before collapse

by The Madeleine Brand Show

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Lehman Brothers reportedly paid executives $700 million shortly before the company went under in 2008. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images) Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Nearly four years ago, Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, setting the record for the largest bankrutptcy in U.S. History.

The federal government declined to bail it out, as it did with other banks, and 26,000 Lehman workers lost their jobs as a result. But some of them walked away rich.

Reporters at the Los Angeles Times reviewed internal company documents and found that 50 of Lehman's highest paid employees were given $700 million, less than a year before the company went under.

Walter Hamilton of the L.A. Times joins the show to discuss Lehman's creative accounting practices and why no federal prosecution has targeted the company.


Walter Hamilton is a reporter for the L.A. Times.

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