ENID, OKLAHOMA, 10/07/02
A former employee of Merrill Lynch says a major shake-up of the company is needed if it is to avoid losing the confidence of shareholders and clients.

Keith Schooley, author of a new book that blows the whistle on what he calls an unethical corporate culture within Merrill Lynch, notes that the company has been accused of improprieties in several recent financial scandals, including one last May that ended in a $100 million settlement with New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

“The reports of wrongdoing keep coming, and I’d bet they won’t slow down because dishonesty seems ingrained in the way business is done at Merrill Lynch,” Schooley alleges. “I believe a good number of senior executives and directors of the firm need to step aside for their failure to responsibly act. In light of the recent spate of scandals at Enron, Arthur Andersen, WorldCom, Adelphia, and others, shareholders and clients now demand integrity at the highest levels.”

Schooley’s book, Merrill Lynch: The Cost Could Be Fatal (Lakepointe Publishing, 282 pp, hardcover, $27.95), exposes a litany of wrongdoing, including a widespread cheating scandal that was twice covered up by senior management of the largest firm on Wall Street. It recounts the author’s almost ten-year war with the firm in an effort to establish truth and justice. The book shows how the “powerful and mighty” play the game inside and outside of a court of law.

Schooley says he is well aware of the risks of taking on the giant corporation, a point driven home when Lloyd’s of London declined a request to insure his book. Stephen Jones, the famed Oklahoma lawyer who represented Schooley early in the conflict, has called the book dangerous because it “names names, takes no prisoners, and is explosive.”