March 5 (Bloomberg) — Disclosing the identities of Merrill Lynch & Co. employees who were paid $3.6 billion in bonuses just before the firm merged with Bank of America Corp. will cause “grave and irreparable harm,” said lawyers for the companies.
Bank of America today filed documents in state court in Manhattan to intervene in a case brought by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to compel former Merrill Chief Executive Officer John Thain to testify about the bonus recipients.
“Neither the individual names nor the job titles bear any reasonable or relevant relationship” to Cuomo’s investigation, the firms argued in the documents. “Nor is there a reasonable or relevant reason to disclose such information to the general public.”
The information Cuomo seeks would provide a “road map” revealing which business lines the banks believe to be most valuable and enable competitors to poach the bank’s top talent, Bank of America argued in the court filing. Disclosure of the information would also cause “internal dissension and consternation,” pose security risks for the exposed bankers and their families, and cause employees to leave, according to the filings.
The case is People v. Thain, 400381/2009, New York state Supreme Court (Manhattan).
To contact the reporter on this story: Karen Freifeld in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Updated: March 5, 2009 14:21 EST
By Karen Freifeld