03/28/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Bear Stearns Fat Cats Elicit Little Sympathy

As investment bank Bear Stearns collapsed, and was sold to JPMorgan Chase for a scant $240 million, its chairman James Cayne played bridge at a tournament last week in Detroit over two critical days, like Nero fiddling away as Rome burned.

Cayne's decision to remain at the tournament as the company's CEO Alan Schwartz negotiated with JPMorgan Chase to sell Wall Street's fifth largest investment firm for $2 a share, 90 percent less than its value last week, has been criticized as indicative of a senior management team that was distinctly out of touch.

Thousands of the company's employees whose savings were wrapped up in Bear Stearns stock options may have been ruined overnight, and a new light has been focused on the company's executives' spectacular downfall and their own investments. As for Bear Stearns' 14,000 employees, many will lose their jobs and all of them have seen the value of their stock options evaporate overnight.

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Read about how shell-shocked Bear Employees are turning to grief councilors.