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November 1, 2002

Arthur Levitt's Revenge: Take on the Street

By Gregory Bresiger

But, one is obliged to ask, why weren't there public screeds from Levitt about accounting hijinks? And why, given his long record as a player in the securities industry, couldn't he make a more effective case with the pols on Capitol Hill, so many of whom seemed to have been antagonistic to Levitt and his call for reforms? This book is a call for reform. It is also a chronicle of disappointment; of a regulator jaded by the securities business.

Indeed, don't expect to see a smiling Levitt on the front cover of this book. If Levitt was playing a role on the wrestling circuit, his character would be "The Avenging Angel" and he'd wear white trunks.

For those not up on what is likely these days to be their kids' favorite sport, wrestling is no longer a morality play in which good usually triumphs over evil. Often it's one bad guy who is more diabolical than the other bad guy who has his hand raised.

No matter how Levitt may want to describe his efforts as chairman of the SEC, the result is clear: The Avenging Angel was the one who was pinned. Maybe that's why Arthur Levitt isn't smiling on the cover.