Corzine’s tone-deaf statement

By Felix Salmon
November 4, 2011
it's a doozy:

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Jon Corzine has not said anything in public since his firm and his reputation imploded at the end of last week. So his first public statement was always going to be closely watched. And it’s a doozy:

I have voluntarily offered my resignation to the Board of Directors of MF Global. This was a difficult decision, but one that I believe is best for the firm and its stakeholders.

I feel great sadness for what has transpired at MF Global and the impact it has had on the firm’s clients, employees and many others.

I intend to continue to assist the Company and its Board in their efforts to respond to regulatory inquiries and issues related to the disposition of the firm’s assets.

Firstly, this was a difficult decision? No, Jon, it wasn’t. You had no choice. If you hadn’t quit, you would have been fired. In fact, I’m kinda shocked the board hadn’t got around to firing you before today. If you drive a broker-dealer into bankruptcy with the loss of $630 million in client funds, resignation is a no-brainer. The only question is whether you’re going to end up going to jail.

And secondly, would it be too much to ask for just a tiny hint of remorse here? A short apology, perhaps, to the thousands of employees and customers who have lost their jobs or their money?

I’m sure you’re sad — that often happens, when you become the living embodiment of the destructive greed of the 1% and a hate figure for millions. But are you sorry? Or are you going to pull a Dick Fuld and live in denial, convinced “until they put me in the ground” that you’re a victim rather than a perpetrator?

This kind of thing is why there’s so much anger aimed at the 1%. Chances are, Corzine will never be prosecuted, let alone convicted, and that he’ll enjoy the comfortable retirement of a centimillionaire for decades to come. He deserves much worse. But right now, when it matters, he can’t even bring himself to say he’s sorry.

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