Solomon fires first salvo in war with Lazard Freres

In a followup to our May story, veteran Wall Streeter Arthur Solomon has now filed claims with the New York Stock Exchange against his former firm of 11 years, Lazard Freres, charging breach of fiduciary duty and defamation.

Through attorney Stanley S. Arkin, senior partner of Arkin Schaffer & Kaplan LLP in New York, Solomon filed the claims on May 17. At his departure, Solomon was responsible for five funds with total assets of more than $9 billion.

In essence, according to press statements, Solomon's claim cites increasing conflicts over Lazard's willingness to put its own economic interests ahead of those of fund investors as having led, in early January, to a meeting between Solomon and several colleagues and the firm's top management to discuss an amicable separation of the funds from Lazard. In other words, according to Solomon, he was attempting to spin off the funds from Lazard but Lazard executives responded with his ouster.

Lazard's public rationale for the move was that Solomon and his team repeatedly selected the wrong fund investments under his management, which led to his dismissal.

Solomon's departure follows a recent trend at Lazard Freres. Over the past few years, the firm has seen its share of top-executives walk out the door.

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