Every tragedy needs a villain, and with his deep-set eyes, gruff voice and hundreds of millions of dollars in pay, the Lehman Brothers CEO was perfectly cast as the bad guy of the recession. At an October hearing, members of Congress all but accused Fuld of profiting from the collapse; one even began listing the worth of his multimillion-dollar homes. True, under Fuld, Lehman borrowed recklessly. But the government's willingness to let Lehman fall into bankruptcy may have worsened the financial crisis in the short term.
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