Monday, March 23, 2009

Resign or Go Commit Suicide

The Height of Irresponsibility


AIG’s Mouat Says Bonus Rage Unfair, Would Give up His

Return Every Red Cent or

Resign or Go Commit Suicide

American International Group Inc.’s president for Southeast Asia, Leslie Mouat, said the “abuse” against the insurer’s employees amid furor over bonus payments is “unfair,” and he would give up his own payout if asked.

New York-based AIG, which received a $173 billion federal bailout, sparked an outcry by paying $165 million in bonuses this month to employees of the financial products unit that almost bankrupted the company.

The U.S. House responded to public outrage last week by voting to impose a 90 percent tax on employee bonuses at AIG and other companies that get at least $5 billion in taxpayer bailout funds. AIG said it lost a total of $61.7 billion in the fourth quarter, a record for any U.S. corporation.

Mouat, based in Singapore, said while he is “angry” with the bonus payments, those in the financial products unit represent just “400 of 120,000” people that AIG employs and that the “problem is isolated to one small place.”

Still, the firm receives “15,000 e-mails a day of hate mail on the AIG Web site,” he said.

Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, said he wants “contrition” from company executives after previously telling Cedar Rapids, Iowa, radio station WMT they should “resign or go commit suicide.”

“Because I’m scared to death of being photographed with my staff with a beer in my hand at Christmas or Chinese New Year, we canceled every party; I’ve canceled every agent event,” he said.

“I wouldn’t wish this situation on my worst enemy,” Mouat said. “This is beyond character building; this is the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do. But I can assure we will come through.”

American International Assurance Co., which includes most of AIG’s life business in Asia, plans an initial public offering, part of Liddy’s plan to repay taxpayers.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Mega Taxpayer-Funded Bonuses

Gives Connecticut’s Blumenthal Data on Bonuses

American International Group Inc., whose compensation policies before and after its U.S. bailout are being investigated, turned over information on its executive bonuses to Connecticut’s attorney general, who said the insurer paid out $218 million.

That amount is more than the $165 million in bonuses previously disclosed by the New York-based company. The insurer provided a list of bonus amounts and contract terms to Richard Blumenthal, who said the information supports his view that the basis for paying the bonuses is “completely unjustified,” according to a statement he issued yesterday.

“These contracts rip the rug from under AIG’s excuses -- revealing no basis under Connecticut law for these mega taxpayer-funded bonuses,” Blumenthal said. “AIG’s own documents reveal that it turned an emergency bailout into a meritless handout, paying windfalls to employees as reward for financial failure.”

Blumenthal said he asked AIG’s lawyers to explain the difference in total bonus amounts.

“We don’t know why the numbers are different,” Blumenthal said today in an interview. “That’s what we are asking the company to explain.”

The documents Connecticut received showed that 418 people received bonuses, from $1,000 to $6.4 million, he said. At least 73 people made $1 million or more, and there were seven people who made $4 million or more, Blumenthal said.

$6.4 Million Bonus

Douglas Poling, $6.4 Million Bonus

In addition to Liddy, subpoenas will be served on 11 other
AIG executives who are believed to have received bonuses, Connecticut officials said, including Douglas Poling. Poling, an executive vice president, got a $6.4 million bonus, said a person familiar with the bonuses.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who also has subpoenaed AIG, said $6.4 million was the biggest individual award of the more than $160 million in bonuses paid on March 13.
New York-based AIG sparked a national furor by paying $165 million in bonuses last week after receiving a $173 billion federal bailout. The U.S. House of Representatives responded to public outrage on March 19 by voting to impose a 90 percent tax on employee bonuses at AIG and other companies that get at least $5 billion in taxpayer bailout funds.

Douglas Polling Image Source: The Onion

Friday, March 20, 2009

Piano Wire

Inside AIG, Feeling the Public's Wrath

A solitary flat-screen television hangs on the back wall of the trading floor inside the headquarters of AIG Financial Products here. Wednesday afternoon, the most-talked-about employees in America huddled around it to find out just how despised they have become.

They watched quietly as members of Congress referred to them as greedy and incompetent. They heard more than one demand that their names be released to the seething American public. They heard the chairman of American International Group, Edward M. Liddy; tell lawmakers that people, in e-mails sent to AIG-FP, suggested that the firm's leaders "should be executed with piano wire around their necks."

In reply, they told him that they worried mostly about getting shot, despite the guards now patrolling the parking lot, the front door and some of their homes.

A sense of fear hung in the room -- the palpable, unsettling kind that flashes across people's eyes. But there was anger, too. No one would express it publicly, of course. Who wants to hear a wealthy financier complain?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wrong Message

Citigroup Said to Commit $10 Million for New Executive Suite

Citigroup Inc. plans to spend about $10 million on new offices for Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit and his lieutenants, after the U.S. government injected $45 billion of cash into the bank.

Affidavits filed with New York’s Department of Buildings show Citigroup expects to pay at least $3.2 million for basic construction such as wall removal, plumbing and fire safety. By the time architect’s fees and expenses such as furniture are added, the tally for the offices at the bank’s Park Avenue headquarters will be at least three times as high, according to a person familiar with the project who declined to be identified because he’s not authorized to comment. Citigroup said the project will help it save money over time.

Pandit, criticized by lawmakers over Citigroup’s use of U.S. bailout capital, canceled an order for a company jet in January and told Congress on Feb. 11 that, “I get the new reality and I’ll make sure Citi gets it as well.” Of the biggest U.S. banks that received federal aid, only Citigroup has turned to the government three times for rescue. The company, once the biggest U.S. bank by assets and market value, has agreed to limit perks and restrict executive pay.

“In this environment, it absolutely sends the wrong message,” said Charles Elson, director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, referring to the office renovations. “Timing in life is everything.”
This story and comments, quoting out of context, read the full story: Click Here

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Every Red Cent

Mr. President, Democrats and Geithner

I want to read in the news, “all employees of all companies that received bonuses from a taxpayer-funded bailout pay back EVERY RED CENT”. Did you here me Mr. President, Did you here me Democrats, and did you here me Geithner. Not half no spin, all, EVERY RED CENT.
Geithner, you are doing a good job, but, maybe you should have someone with balls handling the bonus problem. I am tired of hearing excuses.