November 7, 2005
NY judge reduces threat charge vs NYSE member
By Scott Malone
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York judge on Monday said he may
let off the hook a 65-year-old man accused of threatening the
life of a fellow New York Stock Exchange seatholder, though
he'll have to take a 12-week anger management course first.
Judge Abraham Clott of New York Criminal Court reduced the
previous misdemeanor charges against the seatholder, Edward
Reiss, to a violation, which carries lighter penalties.
Clott said he would dismiss the charges entirely if Reiss
takes the anger management course and stays away from the
seatholder he is accused of threatening.
That man is William Higgins, who has waged a highly public
legal campaign against a proposed NYSE acquisition of
Archipelago Holdings Inc., claiming the deal undervalues the
Reiss was accused by prosecutors of leaving a threatening
voice mail for Higgins, 69, at the office of one of Higgins'
attorneys on July 19.
"If this deal doesn't go through, (Higgins) had better have
somebody start his car, because he's out of his mind," the
anonymous message said, according to the court papers.
Higgins said in court that the message had terrified him.
"My life was paralyzed. I work in a white-collar world, and
we are not used to bombs," he said.
"We were afraid to go to sleep at night," he added.
Outside the courtroom, Higgins said he had bought remote
electric starters for his cars, and he and his family would
hide behind their house when they started their vehicles.
Reiss appeared in a somber gray suit and did not speak in
the courtroom or afterward to reporters.
"We believe the district attorney's office came to an
appropriate disposition of this case," Reiss' attorney, Cyrus
Vance Jr. of the New York law firm Morvillo Abramowitz, told
reporters. "Mr. Reiss will abide by the terms of the
Reiss, who was arrested on August 29, is a resident of
Scarsdale, New York, and has been a member of the NYSE since
The proposed NYSE-Archipelago deal would transform the
exchange, which is now owned by its seatholders, into a public
company. The deal would pay each NYSE seatholder $300,000 in
cash and 80,177 shares of stock in the new company, NYSE Group
Inc. Archipelago's current shareholders would each receive one
share of the new company for each Archipelago share they hold.
Higgins said in court he believes the proposal undervalues
the NYSE by about $3 billion.
NYSE seatholders are to vote on the proposal on December 6.