Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Americans Take a Stand!


The following information was obtained this morning from Yahoo & I am angry! This week-end a man killed his entire family over financial worries, a 90 year old woman committed suicide over her home going into foreclosure, more people are loosing jobs, can't feed their families, more families are becoming homeless and AIG spends $440,000 on an executive party?

'Days after it got a federal bailout, American International Group Inc. spent $440,000 on a posh California retreat for its executives, complete with spa treatments, banquets and golf outings, according to lawmakers investigating the company's meltdown.

AIG sent its executives to the coastal St. Regis resort south of Los Angeles even as the company tapped into an $85 billion loan from the government it needed to stave off bankruptcy. The resort tab included $23,380 worth of spa treatments for AIG employees, according to invoices the resort turned over to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The retreat didn't include anyone from the financial products division that nearly drove AIG under, but lawmakers still were enraged over thousands of dollars spent on outing for executives of AIG's main U.S. life insurance subsidiary.

"Average Americans are suffering economically. They're losing their jobs, their homes and their health insurance," the committee's chairman, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., scolded the company during a lengthy opening statement at a hearing Tuesday. "Yet less than one week after the taxpayers rescued AIG, company executives could be found wining and dining at one of the most exclusive resorts in the nation."

Former AIG CEO Robert Willumstad, who lost his job a day after the Federal Reserve put up the $85 billion on Sept. 16, said he was not familiar with the conference and would not have gone along with it.

"It seems very inappropriate," Willumstad said in response to questioning from Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.

"Those executives should be fired," Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama said at a debate with Sen. John McCain on Tuesday, referring to the retreat participants. Obama also said AIG should give the Treasury $440,000 to cover the costs of the retreat.

But Eric Dinallo, superintendent of the New York State Insurance Department, said he could see the value of such a retreat under the circumstances.

"Having been at large global companies and knowing what condition AIG was in ... the absolute worst thing that could have happened" would have been for employees and underwriters in its life insurance subsidiary to flee the company.

"I do agree there is some profligate spending there, but the concept of bringing all the major employees together ... to ensure that the $85 billion could be as greatly as possible paid back would have been not a crazy corporate decision," Dinallo told the House committee.

The hearing disclosed that AIG executives hid the full range of its risky financial products from auditors as losses mounted, according to documents released by the committee, which is examining the chain of events that forced the government to bail out the conglomerate.

The panel sharply criticized AIG's former top executives, who cast blame on each other for the company's financial woes.

"You have cost my constituents and the taxpayers of this country $85 billion and run into the ground one of the most respected insurance companies in the history of our country," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. "You were just gambling billions, possibly trillions of dollars."

AIG, crippled by huge losses linked to mortgage defaults, was forced last month to accept the $85 billion government loan that gives the U.S. the right to an 80 percent stake in the company.

Waxman unveiled documents showing AIG executives hid the full extent of the firm's risky financial products from auditors, both outside and inside the firm, as losses mounted.

For instance, federal regulators at the Office of Thrift Supervision warned in March that "corporate oversight of AIG Financial Products ... lack critical elements of independence." At the same time, PricewaterhouseCoopers confidentially warned the company that the "root cause" of its mounting problems was denying internal overseers in charge of limiting AIG's exposure access to what was going on in its highly leveraged financial products branch.

Waxman also released testimony from former AIG auditor Joseph St. Denis, who resigned after being blocked from giving his input on how the firm estimated its liabilities.

Three former AIG executives were summoned to appear before the hearing. One of them, Maurice "Hank" Greenberg — who ran AIG for 38 years until 2005 — canceled his appearance citing illness but submitted prepared testimony. In it, he blamed the company's financial woes on his successors, former CEOs Martin Sullivan and Willumstad.

"When I left AIG, the company operated in 130 countries and employed approximately 92,000 people," Greenberg said. "Today, the company we built up over almost four decades has been virtually destroyed."

Sullivan and Willumstad, in turn, cast much of the blame on accounting rules that forced AIG to take tens of billions of dollars in losses stemming from exposure to toxic mortgage-related securities.

Lawmakers also upbraided Sullivan, who ran the firm from 2005 until June of this year, for urging AIG's board of directors to waive pay guidelines to win a $5 million bonus for 2007 — even as the company lost $5 billion in the 4th quarter of that year. Sullivan countered that he was mainly concerned with helping other senior executives.' (Retrieved from the World Wide Web, October 8, 2008 At 0551 PST. Taylor, Andrew, Associated Press Writer. Yahoo News at:

And please, do not tell me you buy into the corporate mentality that says they needed to relax and get away. Hello!! These people make millions of dollars as it is, they can spend their own money to get on their own private jets or yachts and party, but to spend OUR American dollars that just bailed them out? Write to your congressional leaders, your senate, the presidential candidates and tell them to demand immediate accounting for this and termination of those involved.

I have included my own letter, feel free to copy, paste and change it around to fit your specific needs. Stop sitting around and thinking someone else will do this and do it. Better yet, pick up your telephone today and call your officials!

How much more are the American people going to have to be insulted and slapped around for corporate America's misdoings?
After approval of the financial bail out, AIG has the audacity to spent over $440,000 on a party for its executives? This is not only deplorable behavior it is outrageous and a slap in the face to those of us who can barely make ends meet. Take a stand and demand this money be paid back immediately!
My family and I moved from Arizona last year to Washington state. I couldn't find work (though I have a business & human resource degree), so I went to work through Americorps tutoring students in reading and math. It was enough to but my student loan on hold and at the end pay $4700 towards that loan.
This year, I still cannot find permanent employment and work as a substitute teacher which means I worked the entire month of September and won't see a check until the end of October. Once a month the month after is an archaic way to pay.
In the meantime, I also clean homes for people and make quilts to sell. Yes, after 12 years as a police dispatcher and going to school to get a better education, I am cleaning toilets to make ends meet. I am also raising 3 grandchildren!
We do not live extravagantly, I make the children's clothing, I buy second hand clothing and re-design it to make it look new, we buy local produce and freeze and can it to save money, we eat at our local church function for children once a week, we eat left overs & we try to pay our creditors.
However, when one of the people we owe is AIG & they receive a government bail-out from the American people and government while they are calling me day in and day out sometimes 10 times a day, call after call to pay them what I owe them, I feel perhaps, I should have received the bail out.
This money would have been better sent sending the American people enough to pay their debts and then we could have collectively boosted the economy.
I was not raised to take hand outs & yet, I cannot find permanent work, suffer from Arthritis and Fibromyalgia and do what I can to make my payments.
I have been involved with my churches financial counseling classes and my family is doing all we can & then AIG pulls this stunt?
Please Senator McCain, immediately require that AIG repay this money and have them apply it directly to my account and mark it as paid in full. One way or another, they will get their money, however, you cannot promise this to myself or my family.
If I become disabled today due to my medical conditions, I do not even have a retirement plan, long term disability, etc.
When we lived in Arizona, we were staunch supporters of you and the work you did to stop PORK spending in Washington.
Please, you must act to stop this heinous attitude towards all Americans by AIG! Please, do not tell me the executives needed this. I need a weekly body massage for my physical condition, it helps to keep my muscles moving and relaxed and yet, at $35 per week, my family cannot afford this.
I am appalled and very upset this morning. When AIG contacts me, I will inform them to go directly to their CEO for my next payment!


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