Skip to main content
CNN.com /TRANSCRIPTS

CNN TV
EDITIONS





CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interview With Lisa Beamer, Howard Lutnick

Aired February 22, 2002 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, meet Morgan Kay, the beautiful baby daughter 9/11 hero Todd Beamer never got to see. Her courageous mom Lisa talks to us live about coping with his loss.

And then, terrorists killed the best and brightest in his company, including his brother. The CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald, Howard Lutnick, shares his efforts to recover and rebuild. Powerful personal stories next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Let's go right to Princeton, New Jersey, where Lisa Beamer is standing by with Morgan Kay Beamer, just born, though she, of course, Lisa, the widow of 9-11 hero Todd Beamer, the baby daughter. You induced the birth, did you not, Lisa?

LISA BEAMER, WIFE OF 9-11 HERO TODD BEAMER: Yes, we did. On January 9.

KING: And it was originally due another date. And you did that, what, to avoid press hassle?

BEAMER: No, mostly just to make it so that I didn't go into labor by myself in the middle of the night. And also because we wanted to have Todd's sister there with us, and she lives in Michigan. So we needed to bring her in for that.

KING: We have shots of you now in your hospital bed, awaiting the birth. You knew it would be a girl, didn't you?

BEAMER: No, we didn't.

KING: You did not?

BEAMER: No, it was a surprise. A good surprise.

KING: We're going to see more close-ups of the baby. But I understand she looks like Todd, huh?

BEAMER: She does. When the boys were born, they came out with a little bit of blond hair, and everyone said how much they looked like me. And when Morgan came out, she had this full head of dark hair and a little wave to it. And she's unmistakably Todd's daughter.

KING: What was the birth like? Did it go well? BEAMER: It did. It went very quickly. The boys were born quickly too, so I was hoping for that. And obviously there's a lot of emotion, but physically it went very well.

KING: Now, how do the boys like having a little sister?

BEAMER: They love it. They're so sweet to her. And take turns holding her, and want to kiss her all the time. And when David's leaving the hospital the first day, he just came over and whispered to her, "Morgan, we love you and we'll take good care of you." And that's what they've been doing for the last couple of weeks. So I hope it stays that way.

KING: We see the boys now at your hospital bed, looking at their new little sister. What's behind the name Morgan Kay?

BEAMER: Morgan's Todd's middle name and Kay's my middle name. So we took the best of both of us and put them together in her name and in the person that she is.

KING: And what was it like when you came home?

BEAMER: It was hard. It was a poignant difference between what it was like to bring home David and Drew and what it was like to bring home Morgan. There's a big hole there. But the boys were there, and they're real excited to see her. And we just started to do what our new family does. So picked up and went on.

KING: Now, how are you going to handle with all the children, the story of their father?

BEAMER: That's a tough question. They're so little that right now, obviously, the only thing that they know is that Todd's not here anymore. And I've kept a good collection of all the chronicles of things that have happened since September 11 to be able to share with them some day. But my most important thing for now is just to keep his memory alive for them. We talk about him a lot. We look at a lot of pictures. We talk about all the things we did with him.

And I just want to keep that memory alive, and let them know who he was as a day-to-day sort of person. Then when they're big enough and ready for it, share what happened on the 11th of September.

KING: Does it -- this is weird, difficult. Does it get any easier?

BEAMER: In some ways, it actually gets harder as the days go on and you start to realize that this is life as we know it now. It gets a little harder and -- memories start to fade. That gets harder, too. But there are things that do get easier. I'm going to pass her off for a minute.

KING: Morgan Kay has good lungs.

BEAMER: She does.

KING: Does she sleep well at night?

BEAMER: She sleeps pretty well. She gets up in the middle of the night, though, so I haven't had a good night's sleep in a while. But she eats and goes right back to sleep. So we're happy about that.

KING: Now, based on their ages -- what do you have, one boy in a bed and two in cribs now?

BEAMER: No, we have two boys in beds.

KING: Oh, the little on is in a bed too?

BEAMER: Yes. The boys sleep in bunk beds, so they were very excited that we were going to have the baby and that would mean that Drew could move over to his bunk bed. They like that.

KING: Any jealousy yet?

BEAMER: No, not at all. I think they were so used to having a sibling already and sharing things with each other that they were just excited to have a new one to join in the fun. And I think they're real excited that she's a girl, too.

KING: And we're seeing some brand new photos now of the two boys. And I guess -- are they going to see pictures of their whole life, aren't they?

BEAMER: Yeah.

KING: Tapes and the like every day as they grow up.

BEAMER: Yeah. They have a lot of...

KING: You think Todd would have liked to have had a daughter?

BEAMER: Yeah. He was real happen with the boys and all the fun sports things they could do, but I think if he could have chosen the sex of this baby, he definitely would have picked a girl.

KING: Do you still hear from people, are contributions still coming into the foundation?

BEAMER: There is definitely a resurgence around the time that Morgan was born. I think, you know, the story of a new baby being born in this situation brings people -- heightens their interest and brings out the best in them. And we've gotten a lot of nice letters. And the foundation has gotten a lot of contributions this month.

KING: By the way, we are going to be taking calls for Lisa Beamer, and if Morgan Kay feels a little better, we'll put her back on camera as well. Hey, don't work on the same camera with a baby. They steal the scenes.

You must have some thoughts about Marianne Pearl, the widow of Daniel Pearl. She's going to have a baby, much like you. Her husband killed in a I guess semi-similar circumstances, assassinated. What would you say to her?

BEAMER: I heard about it last night, and when I heard about it I just wanted to cry. There's not a whole lot to say, because even though you can say I know what you're thinking and feeling right now, it doesn't -- I don't think it would probably make her feel any better. I've actually gotten into a support group of other people who lost people on 9/11, and that's been helpful for me over the weeks and months since the 11th, just to feel like these people really do understand where you're coming from and some of the issues you're facing.

So I guess I would just hope for her that she could have people in her life every day who maybe can understand on a very personal level the things that she's going to deal with over the next few months.

KING: And this is her first baby.

BEAMER: Yeah. It's tough. There's no way around that. It's a bad situation.

KING: Dealing with grief, there's no book on it, is there?

BEAMER: No. People talk a lot about the grief process and there's definitely things that people go through that are similar, but you're still the person you were before all this happened. And you deal with it, with that angle about it. So it's kind of a unique experience for everyone.

KING: We'll take a break and come back with more with Lisa Beamer and Morgan Kay as the situation fits. We'll include your phone calls as well.

A couple of notes. Tomorrow night, we're going to have a major debate on the Andrea Yates case going on now in Texas. Sunday night, we'll repeat highlights of interviews with Walter Cronkite. Monday night, Congressman Gary Condit will be our special guest for the full hour. Tuesday night, Diane Sawyer. And then, a new interview with Dr. Phil. He was on a couple of weeks ago. We'll do another hour with Dr. Phil next Wednesday.

We'll be right back with your calls for Lisa Beamer. Then, Howard Lutnick. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEAMER: There's Aunt Melissa. Yes. Hello.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Ah, there's little scenes of Lisa Beamer and the newly arrived Morgan Kay Beamer, who made the scene at 1:59 p.m. on January 9th, seven pounds, 20 inches. Not bad. And she's back, a little quiet now. We're going to go to phone calls. By the way, you also got a letter to her from President Bush, right?

BEAMER: We did. From President Bush, another one from Mrs. Bush.

KING: And what did he say?

BEAMER: Actually, I have it here. He said, "Dear Morgan, January 9th will always be a special day. Your arrival has brought great joy to your proud family. Your father was a hero on September 11, 2001. His selfless efforts to prevent additional loss of life on that tragic day reflected the best of the American spirit. Your mother has also shown great courage and strength. Mrs. Bush and I wish you a happy and healthy future. God bless you and your family, George Bush." A great memento for her some day.

KING: Boy, will it be. Louisville, Kentucky, as we go to some calls for Lisa Beamer. You may have a question for Morgan. We'll try to elicit an answer. Hello?

CALLER: Yes. I'd like to know what the small nations around the United States could do for the Todd Beamer Foundation?

KING: What can people do to help the Foundation and how does it work and who does it help?

BEAMER: The Foundation is set up to help children who lost a parent on September 11, particularly very young children, who will have needs throughout their growing up years well beyond the public spotlight and publicity of 9/11. There's a Web site to make donations through which is www.beamerfoundation.org. And a lot of individual groups throughout the country have done fundraisers in whatever way makes sense to them and contributed those funds. So that's something they could do locally as well.

KING: Warren, Michigan, hello.

CALLER: Yes. I was just wondering are these interviews really painful for you to do or do you feel that this is what Todd would want you to do?

KING: Good question.

BEAMER: They can be painful at times. But I think in the beginning when they first started, I think I wanted to tell Todd's story because it was a story that was hopeful out of a time that there wasn't a lot of hope to be had. And I think that Todd would want that message spread.

KING: To Duluth, Georgia, hello.

CALLER: Yes. Do your children really grasp why their father isn't there anymore? BEAMER: They know that he's -- has died. They know what die means. They know that he's with Jesus. But they don't know, necessarily, the bad reasons of why that happened. All they know is that there was a plane crash that day and, you know, usually that doesn't happen, but sometimes it does. And that's kind of where we left it with them for now.

KING: I said that there was no book on dealing with grief. Your book, though, is the Bible, isn't it?

BEAMER: It is. And it kind of not only teaches me to deal with grief, but teaches me how to deal with every situation in my life. And I feel like, you know, a lot of the situations I've already dealt with in my life have really been used by God to get me ready for this one.

KING: Do you have any at all discomfort, I guess is the right word, with all the attention you get? I mean, other mothers were in the same place and they had, you know, maybe their husbands weren't heroes. I guess they're all heroes of September 11. Do you feel kind of unusual?

BEAMER: Yes, I do. And I'm very uncomfortable with that and I always try to as much as I can remind people that there's a lot of faces like mine that are left from September 11. There's a lot of faces like Morgan's and Drew's and David's. And part of the reason we established the Foundation in the beginning is because my family did receive a lot of publicity and many donations from around the country. And I wanted to make sure that those were put in a place that could benefit everyone who lost people that day.

KING: Because after all, you got to attend as a guest of the president and first lady, the state of the union.

BEAMER: Yes. And I did feel like that night I was representing a group of thousands of people like myself.

KING: That wasn't the state of the union, though. That was the speech right after the fatalities, right?

BEAMER: That's right, yes.

KING: Special address to Congress. Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania -- a very famous city -- hello.

CALLER: I'd like to know what she thinks of them putting a memorial in Shanksville at the crash site.

KING: Yes. What do you think of that, Lisa?

BEAMER: I know there are plans to work on that and, actually, we're having a meeting of the families of Flight 93 in the very near future to discuss what we would like to see for that memorial. And we'll work with the people locally who also have some ideas to hopefully come to some common ground and some good ideas of what it should be. But I think it's certainly a proud part of our nation's history and people will want to remember it.

KING: Is there a support network among the families?

BEAMER: There are quite a few different methods of support. There are e-mails that go back and forth all the time between different groups of families who've lost people on 9/11. Like I said, I'm part of a local group here in Princeton of probably 30 different families, spouses, parents, siblings of people who were lost that day. I know there are similar groups around the state of New Jersey and New York and up in New England. So there's a lot of camaraderie between us. And I think we'll continue to be, especially for those of us who have young children, as those children grow up and need to understand what happened that day.

KING: Are you surprised at all the attention "Let's roll" has gotten?

BEAMER: Yes. It is kind of funny, actually. And I actually had the chance to speak to some friends of the Bushes and they said that they were not surprised that that was a phrase that President Bush has picked up on because it's something similar to what he would say. And it's just kind of motivational and upbeat. And I'm glad that it's kind of become a rallying cry for people to do the right thing and step up to the plate and take action.

KING: Wouldn't be surprised if it's the first words we hear from Melissa -- from rather Morgan. I have Melissa on my mind. She's our producer. And she told me we're going to break. No, Natalia (ph) told me we were going to break.

And as we go to break, here is the president referring to rolling on. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And so we're here to wish you all the best, to congratulate you, let's roll. God bless.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: More shots of the Beamer family, now totalling four, with Lisa, the two boys and the newest addition, Morgan Kay Beamer, again born January 9th, seven pounds, 20 inches, and very, very healthy. They're long going to live in the hearts of the nation as the children of the late Todd Beamer.

Portsmouth, Virginia, hello.

CALLER: Yes, hi, Ms. Beamer. With your faith being so strong...

KING: Go ahead. CALLER: Yes, with your faith being so strong, what is your take on, do you believe that we should go to war over what has happened?

BEAMER: I think that God gives us human abilities and expects us to take responsibility for things that we can take responsibility for. And I think that our government's done a good job to date in this battle about targeting the people who are really the dangerous ones and not taking out innocent people, which is something that we would hope to avoid. So I think that we've probably done a good job of doing what we can and not hurting innocent people in the process.

KING: Houston, Texas. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Lisa. First of all, I would like to thank you for how you have held up and just presented yourself throughout this entire situation. But I would like to ask you, do you find yourself feeling sorry for yourself and when you do, how do you handle that?

BEAMER: Every now and then, I feel sorry for myself. But I try when that happens, you know, it's part of grieving and that's part of reality so you need to deal with it. But I also don't let myself linger there too long. I just look around at all the things I do have and all the things I do have to be thankful for. And I say, you know what? Let me look at those and concentrate on those. And then, if that doesn't really work, then I say, look at the big picture of, you know, why I'm really here and what's waiting for me in eternity and where Todd is right now. And usually, those things are enough to kind of get me out of the dumps for the most part.

KING: You participated in the national prayer breakfast, didn't you? What was that like?

BEAMER: It was -- I hadn't really done anything public for about a month since Morgan was born. So it was kind of an eye-opener to be back out and see the president and his wife again, and be able to just expound on some knowledge of the scriptures that I had gotten. There's a part of the Old Testament in Isaiah where he talks about "those who hope in the Lord will soar on wings like eagles and they will run and not grow weary, and walk and not faint." And I just feel like that's the faith that I have in God and one of the things that he's enabled me to do over the last months have really proven that verse to be true.

KING: Raleigh, North Carolina. Hello.

CALLER: Lisa, I admire your strength, and I was wondering from where you draw that, from your childhood or your adulthood or through your faith?

KING: It can't just be the faith, is it?

BEAMER: No, I think it's a combination of a lot of different things. Certainly as humans we have human needs and human strengths and abilities. And I think that I was raised in a great family with great parents, and that has a lot to do with it. I also dealt with the death of my father when I was a teenager, and learned how to survive through that, and watched my mom do the same thing and my siblings do the same thing. And that has certainly been an immense experience to draw on to know how to handle this for myself and for my children.

KING: What are your plans? I mean, what do you want to do with your life? Do you want to go to work, what do you want to do?

BEAMER: Right now, I want to take care of my kids. That's what I wanted to do before September 11, and it is certainly a bigger job now than it ever was before. So certainly my first priority is to get them through their childhood and help them become the best adults that they can be and help them grow to have a similar strength of character and strength of faith that Todd did and that hopefully I continue to have.

So that's my first priority. And I can't even understand what other possibilities there might be right now. But I'll just keep focus on that and see what else comes along.

KING: So you don't think in the areas of personal life or other relationships or new involvements, doesn't enter your thoughts?

BEAMER: I have a lot of, you know, relationships and friendships and family relationships that are important to me, and I definitely know it is important for me to spend time on myself, and I try to do that. Right now, my sister's staying with us, which is great, because it gives me a little chance to get out sometimes. So I know it is important to take care of myself, and I'll do that.

KING: It is. You got to be a little selfish.

BEAMER: That's right.

KING: Long Island, New York. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Lisa, I'd like to first of all congratulate you on the birth of your baby.

BEAMER: Thank you.

CALLER: And I'd also like to know what you do to relieve stress and tension of now being the spokesperson across American for all the World Trade Center victims, the Pentagon victims and the plane victims.

KING: You've become it. By choice or not, you're it.

BEAMER: I just really try to focus on things outside of my own little world sometimes. You had asked before what I do when I don't feel so good or when I kind of get down or -- you know, and I think that looking at other people and trying to, you know, figure out ways to help them and to be compassionate toward others is a great way to relieve the stress of your own situation sometimes. So one of the things that I do.

KING: Have you been bothered at all, have the media hounded you, have you been?

BEAMER: Not too badly.

KING: Any areas of pressure, no?

BEAMER: No, when I'm not on TV, I'm pretty much a normal person. Go to Target, you know, and go to Shopright and take care of the kids and drop them off at school and go to jamboree and all those things that normal suburban moms do. So that's kind of my regular life.

KING: Every network, this one included, are going to do special things on September 11, on the year anniversary. Some even are going to show film never seen before. Is that going to be a very hard day for you?

BEAMER: You know, I don't know if because I was touched so personally by it if it will be harder than any other day, quite frankly. You know, the films of what happened in my life on September 11 can run in my head at any time. So I don't think they'll choose September 11 to be harder or an easier day than any other. But in some ways, it might feel actually good to know that we're a year away from this and we've had a year's worth of time to at least get some perspective and get a little bit of healing in that time.

KING: Lisa, you're an extraordinary woman. Thanks for all the time you've shared with us, with your family, with Christmas and with this birth. We really appreciate it.

BEAMER: Thank you, Larry. I appreciate the opportunity.

KING: Our guest has been Lisa Beamer and her new baby, Morgan Kay Beamer. She of course the widow of 9/11 hero Todd Beamer, the baby daughter born after the death.

Don't forget, Monday night, Congressman Gary Condit will be aboard.

Remember Howard Lutnick, head of Cantor Fitzgerald? The man who literally broke down on the air? He's back and he's next. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We now welcome a return visit to LARRY KING LIVE, from Howard Lutnick, the chairman and CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald and eSpeed. Howard Lutnick was last on this program on September 19, eight days after the tragedy. It was an intense, emotional interview. Cantor Fitzgerald lost more than 650 people. Among the victims, Lutnick's own brother Gary. He also lost his good friend, Doug Gardner, vice chairman of the sister company eSpeed. Gardner's two kids are Lutnick's godkids.

Cantor Fitzgerald's headquarters, located in the North Tower of the World Trade Center, was hit by American Airlines Flight 11 at 8:48 a.m.

First, for just a little recap, Howard, where were you that morning?

HOWARD LUTNICK, CEO, CANTOR FITZGERALD: I took my son to his first day of kindergarten. It was his first day of school, so I took him up to school and dropped him off, and then was heading down to the office.

KING: How did you hear about it?

LUTNICK: Well, I had a call in the school that someone was looking for me, and then I -- and then someone said a plane had hit the Trade Center, so I went running downstairs and jumped in the car and started going downtown to the Trade Center.

And then when I was in the car I could see the smoke coming out of the building on the way down.

KING: And getting information on the radio?

LUTNICK: Listening on the radio and trying to make phone calls and seeing if I can get anyone on the phone. But I wasn't able to get anyone on the phone, and just going downtown, just trying to get there.

KING: Knowing where the plane had hit, the floor it had hit, and the way the building was in shape, did you fear the kind of losses you had?

LUTNICK: Well, as I saw the building I could see the smoke engulfing the top of the building and it was clear that things were going to be, things were going to be terrible.

But I'd hoped with all hope that my, that my people would have gotten down and could get down. And that's why I was going down to the building, to see if I could help in any way, and to see if I could find the people from Cantor Fitzgerald and eSpeed, and just help in any way I could.

KING: By the way, had you not taken the boy to kindergarten, you wouldn't be with us tonight, would you?

LUTNICK: No.

KING: What is eSpeed?

LUTNICK: Think of eSpeed -- if you think of the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, think of where is the rest of the world's bonds, foreign exchange, electricity and energy -- where all these markets trade, they trade on eSpeed, which is sort of the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq for bonds. It's an electronic system and last year it did $50 trillion in wholesale electronic business over its network.

KING: Were they hit too?

LUTNICK: Well, eSpeed is on the same floor as is Cantor Fitzgerald. KING: Oh.

LUTNICK: It was on the 103rd floor, and eSpeed lost 180 of its employees. And again, every single person who was in our offices was lost that morning.

KING: You had two strongly emotional appearances on television, one on this program. Why did you do that? Why did you go on? Obviously, you didn't think you would break up that way. What motivated you?

LUTNICK: Well, I think we were a, we were a business and there were a couple of reasons. One, eSpeed had just opened for business on September the 13th and I don't think that was obvious that anyone would think that we could reopen for business after such a horrible loss.

And I wanted people to know that, (a) we were open for business; and (b) that the reason my employees were willing to be open for business was to try to help the families of those we lost.

And then -- so that was September 13th and eSpeed was open when the bond market opened.

Monday, the 17th, the Stock Exchanges opened and stocks started trading in America and our equity business reopened. And I just wanted people to know that we were open for business, that we were going to take care of these families if we could as a company.

And also to let the families of -- and our friends of Cantor Fitzgerald and eSpeed to know that we were here, we were going to stay in business, and we were going to stay around to try to take care of these families.

KING: Your image is that of a hard-nosed guy. Were the people in the business surprised, people who know you well?

LUTNICK: Well, I don't know if they were surprised or not, but if you just think for a second of what the people of Cantor Fitzgerald went through, to lose all their friends, their co-workers, all the people they worked together closely with and cared about. I mean, the emotions were very, very high. I don't think there's a single person at Cantor Fitzgerald who could say that they weren't, you know, just completely torn apart by what happened. It was the most difficult of circumstances.

KING: And you had such incredible personal loss as well. You got double-whammied.

LUTNICK: Well, you know, my family is one of 658 families, and as much as it hurts me, it is just the same that it hurts the other families. They, you know, we had 20 pairs of brothers, and two in one family; women who lost their brother and their husband. So, you know, we were a family, we were a very close-knit group of people, and the pain is equally spread across 658 families. KING: And you also used this program to announce that, I think, 25 percent of the profits would go to the families, is that correct? Am I correct in memory there?

LUTNICK: That's right. So September 19th I came on to say that the company would give 25 percent -- Cantor Fitzgerald, LP -- 25 percent of its profits would go to take care of these families for the long haul, because we were not just in this to try to take care of these families for a little while; but really to stay together with them for the very long time.

KING: Now for a short period of time, Howard, there was -- I don't know if it was an uproar -- but there was an unsettling feeling. People were calling television stations, writing to newspapers, "we haven't gotten anything," "we can't get through."

And lately I've been reading other stories. So bring us up to date. How are we doing?

LUTNICK: Well, Cantor Fitzgerald had an extraordinary quarter. And so did eSpeed. eSpeed's a public company and it announced its first ever profits of $4.5 million, or eight cents a share. And the company has been public for two years and this is its first profit ever. So I think that was extraordinary.

And that's a testament to the people we lost on September 11th, as well as the incredible, incredible sense of dedication from those we have remaining who worked around the clock to open the company on September the 13th.

You have to remember the quarter we're talking about starts October the 1st, three weeks after September 11th, and ends the end of the year.

And Cantor Fitzgerald, which is giving 25 percent of its profits to the families, also had a very profitable quarter, certainly not the kind of money that we used to make, but the firm made just under $20 million and that means we're going to be giving $4.9 million to these families. We pay for their health insurance for 10 years. And that just works about to about $900,000.

We cover not only the 658 families, but we had very young men and women who worked for us. So we had 30 fiancees and dozens of people who lived together. So we cover long-term domestic partners, as well, for 10 years.

KING: Was the ruckus then that it didn't happen overnight?

LUTNICK: Well, you know, there wasn't much we could do very quickly. I mean, we were very, very focused on seeing if we even had a company that could take care of those who survived, as well as those we lost.

And so, while we couldn't do everything as quickly as maybe other people might have hoped, we did the best we could. And I think we are all together very proud of how the survivors -- those people at Cantor Fitzgerald and eSpeed -- have bounded together with a profound reason to be together and to be in business, and that's to help take care of the families of our colleagues who we lost.

KING: We'll be right back with more of Howard Lutnick, the chairman and CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald and eSpeed. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Howard Lutnick, the Chairman and CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald and eSpeed. No firm lost more than his firm.

Now you have a Web site for the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund. What is that for?

LUTNICK: Well, we set up this relief fund right after September 11. We filed for -- to set up the relief fund on the 12th of September, and its objective was very simple. To raise money directly for the families of everyone associated with Cantor Fitzgerald who were lost. That includes these 658 families, it includes the people who were working for us in the kitchen. There were electricians and telephone people. And we covered all of those people. And then there is a competitor of ours called Euro Brokers at number -- in the other World Trade Center, and we adopted their families because we understood what happened to them, as well.

And Cantor Fitzgerald and I underwrite all of the expenses, and so every single dollar that was raised by the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, and is still be raised by them, goes directly to these families.

We send out $5,000 checks to each family; then $1,500 goes out to each child. Then the next time we raise money, $5,000 to each family again.

KING: So, the public is asked to help in this. The public can contribute through that Web site?

LUTNICK: Correct. So the public can help by making a donation to the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund.

And in December my partners and I offered to match every single dollar that was raised after December. After the first three months we would match dollar for dollar, every single additional dollar that was raised for the next $5 million, and we've raised three-and-a-half- million since then.

So for the next million-and-a-half the Relief fund raises my partners and I are also going to give an additional million-and-a-half dollars.

KING: And that's from you, not from that 25 percent profit; that's additional.

LUTNICK: The Relief Fund is absolutely additional to everything else. The 25 percent, that was $4.9 million for this first quarter. The Relief Fund is totally separate, and that's us working together just to try to give these families a little help, and just try to take the stress down. Because they have had just so much stress that anything we can do to help them is really doing the right thing.

KING: When the reports -- when there were reports in the press that -- about slow payment, and why didn't you come on right away and just explain that this couldn't happen overnight? Why did you let yourself get hit like that for a couple of weeks? Now everybody's praising you. Why did you let that happen?

LUTNICK: Well, I think what happened at the time was maybe I became for some reason a lightning rod that, you know, people felt somehow because I was alive and because I was here, that maybe some of their anger was headed toward me. And, you know, I'm one of those families and I understand. And I just didn't think it was time yet. It was a time and a place. Something happened, it was brief. And now it's long gone.

The 658 families of Cantor Fitzgerald and the employees of Cantor Fitzgerald are really united and they're together. And I think that's what -- that's our oxygen, that's what drives us, that's what keeps us going is that we are all together. We are all going in the same direction, just trying to take care of our colleagues.

KING: How many total employees did you have?

LUTNICK: Well, we lost 658 in New York, and we had about another 325 or 350 in New York. And then we had another 1,300 around the world. And it was really the rest of the world -- our London office of 700 people -- who worked around the clock to keep this company going. Our Dallas, our Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Darien, Connecticut, all of our regional offices all around the United States.

I mean these guys worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week, doing the work of all of their colleagues they lost in New York and our headquarters, to keep the company going. And they are the most impressive group of people you've ever met. I'm proud just to work with them. They are spectacular.

KING: How many of the 650 have been replaced with new hirings?

LUTNICK: Well, in our equity business we've hired probably about 50 people back. And so our New York office, if you came to our New York office now, and our New York office is in, is on 299 Park, and it was donated to us by UBS Warburg. Not only did they offer us space, but they set-up the offices. I mean we've had so many companies help us, so many companies help us get to where we are today. But that office is full of maybe five, five people who were with us before, and 50 new people. So it's a lot of new faces driving it.

KING: You're still doing very well, and you appear to be, by my count, 600 people short.

LUTNICK: Well, there's not much - you can't replace, you know, just tremendous people who were with you who created your business. I don't think it works that way. I think what you do is you build a foundation underneath your feet, you take what you've got. And employees that we have are Herculean. I mean I think they're doing the work of at least two, maybe even three people each.

So, you build your foundation. You make sure you know what you're doing. We have to take care of these families, so we have no room for waste, (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

KING: Are you looking for a permanent new office space?

LUTNICK: We are, we are looking to bring people together. eSpeed and Cantor still have about 300 people out in New Jersey. And so we hope to bring them all together, hopefully in New York. But I'm thinking I'll most likely take space for only one or two years to make sure that when we pick our headquarters in the metropolitan area, that we pick the right space, that we pick space that we can grow in to.

And we need to remember, for five years we're taking care of these families with 25 percent of our profits. So for five years we are dedicated to doing it right. And we just want to make sure that we make the right choices.

KING: Safe to assume it will not be high space?

LUTNICK: It is very safe to assume that.

KING: Yes.

The work mood of those behind - you've described how hard the other offices have worked. What about the people in New York, the people who knew these people well?

LUTNICK: Well the, you know, the people, the people around the world knew these people well. I mean it's not as if just the New York employees knew them. We were very much a tight-knit group and each division was a family unit. So it was really each division working closely together, and they miss their friends. I mean, there's no doubt about it. They miss their friends.

But you know, when you are driven by a profound reason to succeed, and that is so that you can take care of not only the 1,300 people at Cantor Fitzgerald now who depend on Cantor Fitzgerald for their families livelihood, but 658 families who were lost. You know, it drives you. And so during the day, I tell you what goes around our firm. It is busy. It is so busy it is electric.

I'm not saying that people when they go home and they're alone, are not profoundly missing their friends and co-workers, because they do. But when you are at work at Cantor Fitzgerald and eSpeed, these people are working their tails off and it is just incredible.

KING: Are you on-hand all the time, Howard? Are you traveling a lot, visiting the offices? What's your modus operandi?

LUTNICK: Well, you know, I'm working just like, just like all the other employees, and I'm wearing a couple hats, doing more things than I used to do. But the fact is, I'm not, I haven't been traveling very much at all. I've been spending time on the phone just trying to make sure that we're making the right choices, that we're doing the right things.

And I'm helping my employees get their jobs done, because, you know, it is the people who work for you who are doing everything. You know, it's nice for me to be here and to tell you how well Cantor Fitzgerald and eSpeed are doing, but make no mistake about it. It is a testament to the people at Cantor Fitzgerald and eSpeed why we're able to take care of these families, why we can give them their health care, why we were able to take $45 million in bonuses by Thanksgiving.

It is a credit to the people who work at Cantor Fitzgerald and eSpeed, and I'm happy just to work for them and with them, and get to tell you about how impressive they have become.

KING: I salute you, Howard, and I want to remind the public, the Web site if you want to help them, they match it: www.cantorrelief.org.

Howard is even going to write a book and the proceeds will go to the families. And the company remains strong and we wish you nothing but the best, Howard.

LUTNICK: Thank you very much.

KING: Howard Lutnick, the Chairman and CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald and eSpeed. And that Web site again is www.cantorrelief.org.

And when we come back, we've got a special treat for you. Grammy nominated gospel singer, Nicole C. Mullen, will perform "I See Him in Your Eyes." This was the song written for the children of the victims of September 11. That when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Nicole Mullen is the incredibly talented gospel singer and songwriter, nominated for best pop/contemporary gospel Grammy. The Grammys are going to take place February 27th. She is going to sing a special song for us to close it out, "I See Him in Your Eyes." It's the first single from "Let's Roll", a benefit tribute CD to Todd Beamer -- his widow with us earlier -- the proceeds being donated to the Todd Beamer Foundation.

And the tribute benefit CD is entitled "Let's Roll". And we're privileged to show you pictures of some of the babies born to women who lost their husbands on 9/11. Here in New York, is Nicole Mullen.

(MUSIC, NICOLE MULLEN, "I SEE HIM IN YOUR EYES)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Tomorrow night on "LARRY KING WEEKEND", a major debate on the Andrea Yates case in Houston. Sunday night, repeating interviews on "LARRY KING WEEKEND" with Walter Cronkite.

And Monday night, live with Congressman Gary Condit of California. We will include your phone calls. Congressman Gary Condit live Monday night. And Tuesday night, Diane Sawyer. And then a return visit on Wednesday with Dr. Phil.

Here's our own Dr. Phil, our philosopher in New York, the host of "NEWSNIGHT", Aaron Brown. Have a great weekend, Aaron.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


 
 
 
 


 Search   

Back to the top