UPDATE JULY 2014: The judge in this Financier v. Politician lawsuit said, “Let’s do this.” (I’m paraphrasing, of course.) Many charges were dismissed, but several defamation charges remain — and its heading for trial.
/******* Original Article From 2013************/
This defamation suit comes to us from the â€œdisgraced politicians and the people who loathe themâ€ file.
Former New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer is being sued by Mauriceâ€ Hankâ€ Greenberg for defamation of character. The Supreme Court in New Yorkâ€™s Putnam County accepted the case, just before the statute of limitation ran out.
Hank Greenberg is accusing the now-candidate for city comptroller with discrediting and damaging his reputation, claiming that from 2004 to 2012, Mr. Spitzer exacted a campaign to build his own reputation by tearing down Mr. Greenbergâ€™s.
A Contentious History Leads To Courtroom Defamation Showdown
Hank and Eliot have a history. While Spitzer was the New York State Attorney General, he pointed a very large finger at Hank Greenberg, accusing him of accounting fraud and exaggerating AIGâ€™s earnings. The accusations resulted in Greenbergâ€™s 2005 resignation from AIG. Greenberg has consistently denied the charges; however, AIG later settled with federal and state securities regulators to the tune of $1.64 billion, and admitted to deceptive business practices. Till this day, Spitzer maintains his allegations against Hank Greenberg are true.
The defamation lawsuit highlights Mr. Greenbergâ€˜s good reputation as a successful business man and philanthropist. It also makes sure to point out Mr. Spitzerâ€™s extramarital short comings, in addition to reports that he used a personal email account to gather information on political opponents and allegedly misused the State Police for his own needs.
The Actual Accusations That Resulted In A Banker v. Politician Libel Lawsuit
Specifically, Greenbergâ€™s defamation lawsuit highlights Spitzerâ€™s statements in a May 2012 New York Law Journal interview.Â In the interview, Mr. Spitzer accused Greenberg of running AIG â€œin a corrupt way.â€ Spitzer also averred, â€œGreenberg ran from answering questions when I was attorney general until the statute of limitations had run; he was thrown out by his own board, and his accounting was fraudulentâ€. The suit insists these statements are false.
A month later, in June of 2012, Eliot Spitzer, in an interview with CNBCâ€™s Maria Bartiromo, made statements regarding Greenberg running a â€œcorrupt companyâ€ and â€œcommitting fraudâ€. â€œLets deal with reality here; Hank Greenbergâ€™s accounting was fraudulent,â€ opined the former NY governor.
Was The Lawsuit Timed To Ruin Spitzer’s Attempt To Jump Back In The Politics Game?
The suit comes right when Spitzer begins his campaign to rebuild his tarnished career. In response to the action, Spitzer has called the lawsuit â€œfrivolousâ€ and says he â€œwill be happy to discuss the relevant facts in the days ahead.â€
Oh, And There’s Also A Counter-suit
Hank Greenberg is now also facing fraud charges brought by Eliot Spitzer during his tenure as Attorney General. Greenberg is arguing the fraud suit is not valid because of a $115 Million settlement accepted as a resolution to a class action lawsuit against him and Howard Smith (former chief financial officer of AIG).