ST. REGIS RESORT, MONARCH BEACH, CA
AIG says that the "retreat" was really just an event for AIG's top independent agents - and that only 10 employees were present out of 100 attendees. This was stated in a letter sent today to U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson to clarify the circumstances of the event.
The event, mischaracterized as an "Executive Retreat," was held by one of AIG's insurance subsidiaries for independent life insurance agents, not for AIG employees. These agents were top business producers for the company, and of the more than 100, only 10 employees of the AIG subsidiary who were there to represent the company. No AIG executives from headquarters attended. The meeting was planned months before the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's loan to AIG.
In the letter, Liddy concluded, that "AIG is focused on doing what is necessary to address our capital structure, repay the Fed credit facility and emerge as a healthy global insurer. In the meantime, our insurance businesses continue to operate normally and satisfy the needs of our policy holders."
From a document entitled "AIG Independent Agency Convention 2008" it shows "Total Contracted Rooms" and "Rooms Occupied".
For Rooms Occupied:
- Monday, September 22: 9 Rooms
- Tuesday, September 23: 16 Rooms
- Wednesday, September 24: 68 Rooms
- Thursday, September 25: 67 Rooms
- Friday, September 26: 66 Rooms
- Saturday, September 27: 65 Rooms
- Sunday, September 28: 4 Rooms
- Monday, September 29: 1 Room
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino today called "despicable" expenses from this gathering. AIG considered buying advertisements to explain its position, only to be told by public relations consultant George Sard that it would be "a really bad idea."
"To spend the taxpayer's money on an expense ad campaign to apologize for how you used taxpayer money leaves you open to further attacks," Sard wrote in an email to Ashooh. Sard, chief executive officer of New York-based Sard Verbinnen & Co., said the message was a private email mistakenly sent to Bloomberg and wasn't intended to be a public statement.
President George W. Bush didn't push for the bailout "to help top executives go to a spa," Perino said today at the daily White House briefing. Hours later, the Federal Reserve agreed to loan AIG an additional $37.8 billion on top of the initial $85 billion.
"AIG, a company that got a bailout, just a week after they got help, went on a $400,000 junket," Obama said. "And I tell you what: the Treasury should demand that money back and those executives should be fired."
RITZ-CARLTON, HALF MOON BAY, CA
And they are planning on doing another next week at the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay in northern California. The event is designed to "motivate and educate" about 150 independent agents that sell AIG coverage to high-end clients, spokesman Nicholas Ashooh said. "These sorts of sales meetings are an essential function," he said. "We have them around the world all the time."
"It's very much accepted practice in the insurance business, especially to reward high-performance individual agents," said Ashooh. [Insert violins here] "It's still painful and it's been very distressing to our employees." [Violins Off]
[Oh wait, and it hasn't been distressing for the average American taxpayer to see our tax dollars paying for your corporate shindigs while we wonder where our next paycheck will come from, how we are going to pay for groceries, how we are going to pay our mortgages and rent, how we are going to pay for our utility bills? How we are going to put all that money back into our 401(k)s that was lost because of companies like you? You party while we suffer. Sorry.... corporate stupidity is not allowed here.]
About 50 AIG employees will also attend the meeting. Ashooh said he didn't know the cost of the event or whether the agents AIG is hosting would stay overnight.
[Of course you don't, and I bet you didn't offer to find out what the quotes were for the event, right?]
Upon taking a quick look at the rates at the Ritz at Half Moon Bay, room run between $400 - $900 a night, with an average around $640 a night in the month of October, based upon occupancy levels before any promotional or corporate discounts.
Ashooh said several AIG firms are going ahead with social and business events that had been scheduled before the bailout. [Of course, business as usual at the cost of the taxpayers....]
MARRIOTT MARQUIS, ATLANTA, GA
One of AIG's main securities subsidiaries, Atlanta-based FSC Corp., is holding its annual National Education and Business Conference at Atlanta's Marriott Marquis hotel next week. At least 400 stockbrokers and their families are expected to attend the three-day conference, with FSC expected to pick up the tab for airfare, rooms and bar and restaurant charges.
A spokesman for AIG Retirement Services, said today that attendees are expected to pay a " portion" of their transportation, room and related expenses. It is unclear what part they are expected to pay for.
Now one thing to remember in all of this is that the Fed loan to AIG has an interest rate of 11.5%. So the Feds are sitting to make a profit out of all of this however, do you really think you as a taxpayer will reap the rewards from this additional income? What remains to be seen however, is how fast AIG is paying that loan back, and if they will be able to pay that loan back. Additionally, the Fed loans should not be used as "petty cash" funds to AIG, dipping in once a month to cover their butts.
It seems to me, if a company was in financial trouble, with the size of AIG, there would be large meeting rooms at AIG's building, thus utilizing what one already has to reduce cost. But no, its "operate normally" at AIG with wining, dining, and corporate shoulder rubbing with a little ass kissing parties out of the office while going further and further into debt at the cost of the American taxpayer. If it's truly about business, then it needs to remain in a business environment, not in a "retreat" or "social" environment, if you have the meeting facilities in your corporate office. If you can't socialize in a business environment, then you need to learn some social skills. If you can't find catering services in New York, then you need to fire your PR people.
Paying for a hotel is one thing, paying for food, golfing, manicures, limo service, and turn down service is another. Hey reps, pay for it out of your pocket, and then take it off on your taxes like the rest of the American taxpayers do!
Now I believe in recognition for employees that go above and beyond the standard however, if you don't have the money for a normal recognition, then you scale it back, unfortunately. It may not be fair that last year John Doe got a $50K bonus, and this year you outperform him and only get $10K. It's called scaling to performance taking into consideration the health of the company. And I do not see how any agents "out preformed" when the company would be out of business, if it were not for the Feds handout. In the immortal words of most parents "No, it's not fair, but that's life." Maybe if corporations took on mother's mentality, they wouldn't be in the mess they are in.
And do you realize that $440K would pay for an upper end home? Do you realize that $440K is about 10+ years of an average American's income which you blew in one week!
And sorry, it can't be "business as usual" if your bank was bailed out by the government to the tune of first $84 billion and now $37.8 billion, cause the money is going to run out one day, and do you, AIG, want to be responsible for being a part of that? Oh wait, you already are.. what am I thinking? Thank you for your stupidity and greed.
As for Congress being able to do something? As of this point, they can't based upon the wording in the bills however, it's funny how they can make a "new" bill into law (kinda new, but not.. let's say addon) within two days, yet they don't seem to be interested in amending the bill. That should be the thing to realized in all of this. It does not matter how many Congressmen complain, it does not matter how many American's complain, it's the fact that nothing is being done about American taxpayers dollars being wasted, for a bill we didn't approve in the first place. - RANT OFF