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GRASSO SUES NYSE FOR $50 MILLION FOR DEFAMATION

Former New York Stock Exchange chief Richard A. Grasso has sued the exchange for at least $50 million, claiming breach of contract and defamation on the part of exchange officials, including current NYSE chairman John Reed.

Grasso spokesman Eric Starkman said today the breach-of-contract claims stem from disparaging comments made against Grasso by a number of current NYSE executives, including Reed. Grasso is also seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit by state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who is seeking the return of the bulk of the $187.5 million compensation package that led to Grasso's resignation last September.

Meanwhile, Spitzer has alleged that Grasso was paid about $190 million during his eight years as chairman and chief executive of the NYSE in a motion filed Monday.

Spitzer's allegation is his first public estimate of Grasso's pay since Grasso resigned as head of the world's largest stock market on Sept. 17. It includes $140 million Grasso received in August, which propelled some members and investors to call for his ouster.

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