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Cablevision Systems Corp., the fifth-largest U.S. cable-television provider, awarded stock options to a dead executive in 1999, then backdated them to give the illusion they were granted when he was alive.

That's how Bloomberg gets people reading about the rash of stock option backdating scandals rocking the business world. The feds are investigating Cablevision, which released the "vested corpse" story in an earnings restatement. The Wall Street Journal says Vice Chairman Marc Lustgarten was the reanimated beneficiary. The paper also comments:

John Coffee, a professor of law at Columbia University, noted that options are intended to create an incentive for executives to boost their company's stock price. "Trying to incentivize a corpse suggests they were not complying with the spirit of shareholder-approved stock-option plans," he said.

Cablevision Gave Backdated Options to Dead Executive [Bloomberg]
Cablevision Gave Backdated Grant To Dead Official [Wall Street Journal]