FAT-CAT PALACE IS A 'CRA$H' PAD
EX-MERRILL BIG'S 'BAILOUT' BONANZA
BIG BUYER: Former Merrill Lynch exec Peter Krauscan now entertain guests in the...
Look what taxpayers' Wall Street rescue helped buy one former honcho!
Peter Kraus - a former top executive at Merrill Lynch who received a $25 million golden parachute after only three months' work - has landed himself a $37 million Park Avenue pad.
Kraus, 55, doled out the staggering sum for the five-bedroom co-op at 720 Park Ave. near East 70th Street after taking $25 million from Merrill after the company was sold to Bank of America in September.
The palatial pad - featuring 11-foot-high ceilings, three fireplaces, three maid's rooms, a library, a gallery and a family room/gym - sold for twice what the previous owners, Democratic fund-raisers Carl Spielvogel and Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, paid for it nearly two years ago.
Before Merrill hired Kraus as an executive vice president, he negotiated a $50 million pay package for himself - with the bulk of that guaranteed to him if the company was sold.
Although he did not officially start work until September, Kraus hit the jackpot after just a couple of days, when Merrill CEO John Thain sold the company to Bank of America for $50 billion amid the stock-market meltdown.
The sale automatically triggered the $25 million payout under Kraus' contract. He left Merrill this month. The amount represents about 0.1 percent of Bank of America's $25 billion capital injection from the government as part of Congress' rescue package.
Thain hurriedly sold the firm to avoid the bankruptcy-filing fate of rival Lehman Brothers.
TheRealDeal.com, a real-estate site, first reported the sale of the seventh-floor apartment.
The apartment features a formal dining room that is "grand for entertaining but cozy enough for family suppers with its wood-burning fireplace," according to the description supplied by real-estate broker Brown Harris Stevens.
The ad touts the apartment's "crown molding, plaster relief encircling the chandelier and rich Venetian plaster walls" and says its library "is paneled in rich mahogany."
Thain declined to seek a bonus this year, while Kraus now works as the CEO of AllianceBernstein, a money-management firm.