Mystery of the Goldman Sachs Tattletale

Believe it or not, Goldman Sachs has been playing Sherlock Holmes for the last three years. The baffling mystery? Which Wall Street employee was embarrassing the firm through a Twitter account that allegedly repeated unfiltered comments overheard on the firm’s elevators. Unable to find the leak, Goldman had implemented a no talking on elevators rule.

The account, @GSElevator, has infamously put Goldman in an awkward position for off-the-cuff remarks like I never give money to homeless people. I can’t reward failure in good conscienceI could watch fat people get out of cars all day and Groupon … Food stamps for the middle class. The Twitter account has also reported insider references. The account currently has over a half million followers and the account owner recently signed a six figure book deal about the tweets and Wall Street culture.

Well, Goldman can stop looking for the traitorous employee. Apparently they will never find him at the firm. That’s because he never worked there. Despite the popular train of thought, many had believed the Twitter account didn’t belong to a Goldman employee. Now everyone knows it belongs to 34 year old John Lefevre, a former bond executive who is as far removed from Wall Street as it gets. He lives in Texas. Lefevre worked at Citigroup for seven years and he had no problem confirming he was the account owner. He admitted to being surprised it took years for anyone to find out.

While never an employee, Lefevre does have a history with Goldman. He was almost head of debt syndicate for the firm’s Hong Kong office in 2010. Only both sides have different tales to tell about why it never happened. Goldman claims to have rescinded the offer. Lefevre says his previous employee caused problems about their non-compete agreement with Lefevre, meaning he couldn’t go to Goldman.

Lefevre claims no malice toward Goldman. He wasn’t trying to make a statement about Wall Street or Goldman, though he intimated some of the quotes he used were based on things he heard at the firm while being considered for employment. He says he was as inspired by Wall Street as he was the Occupy Wall Street movement. He only chose the Goldman name because of its commercial potential. “This was never about me as a person,” Lefevre has said. “It wasn’t about a firm. The stories aren’t Goldman Sachs in particular. It was about the culture in general.”

Lefevre’s scam has raised concerns about anonymous Twitter accounts and the potential damage to reputation that can be generated. Even after hearing about the subterfuge, Lefevre still has his book deal with Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Meanwhile, Goldman has lifted its ban on talking on its elevators.


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