His identity revealed, Mr Blanc continues to insist $139.5 million pay warranted

NEW YORK, NY ( insult to injury, Richard Grasso, the former Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange finally admitted to being French actor Michel Blanc. Mr Blanc had gone missing in Normandy at the same time Mr Grasso became the NYSE Chairman.

Regulators who had been examining Mr Grasso's behavior as an outside director as well as his business dealings with former board members, are at a loss for words.

An anonymous source within the investigation said: "We were quite close to charging Mr Grasso, but if Grasso isn't Grasso, who the hell do we charge? Blanc? We'll be the laughing stock of New York."

Mr Blanc admitted no wrongdoing. "It all started off as a little joke," he explained, "but then the money was so good and the movie scripts I'd been receiving had been so mediocre, I just decided to continue playing the Chairman. I don't regret any of it, and I don't plan on returning any of my $139.5 million pay package. Why should I? I put in a performance of a lifetime. Everyone thought I was Grasso. I fooled them all. That kind of performance is priceless--you can't attach a monetary amount to it. I mean, how much does art cost? It's relative, isn't it? In fact, I'd go as far as to say I might have been underpaid."

Mr Blanc, as Mr Grasso, had been a darling of the business community.

Said Barbara Von Liebowitz of the Hamptons: "He just had such a cute little French accent. I thought-we all thought-he was just putting it on, you know, to sound sophisticated, but it was so cute. It really was. I hope he doesn't return to France."

It appears Mr Blanc just may stay. He had recently bought a $10 million seaside estate near Boston.

"I just love America," he told TheShortStraw. "It's really like the song says, if you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere."

Copyright © 2004, TheShortStraw


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