David Dodd 2:53 a.m., May 21
Well, legal issues aside, I continue to believe that the President has the authority to stop AIG from paying bonuses. Even if there is a contract, the totality of this company is broke. The contracts were drawn up when AIG was solvent. The people who signed those contracts are the very ones who sent AIG into an economic tailspin. They should be unemployed but, instead, they are getting bonuses. A big reward for their devious, non-thinking, stupid decisions on how to bilk the public. The shock came when it didn't work. A financial quagmire ensued and the American taxpayers now own 80% of AIG. So, as 'owners' we need to speak LOUDER than we have to date. LISTEN UP. I am speaking from a position of practicality and common sense.
IF AIG had not sought Federal intervention (via bailout), then AIG would not have the money to pay anything to anybody. So, the money from you and me was an emergency undertaken to save a flailing company. That money was to prevent insolvency, not to pay bonuses. All the lawyers in the world, and Mr. Liddy, cannot convince me that this reckless behaviour is required by contracts. Seems to me that any/all internal contracts were voided the minute AIG received the first dime of the bailout money.
There have been reports of AIG employees receiving threatening e-mails. Well, here's a news flash, people are angry. The voices of American citizenry are raised loud and clear, STOP THE MADNESS.
Just think about this. Bring it down to the basics. Pretend, for just a moment or two, that you are in business and an employee really messes up. You cannot sustain the business without an infusion of capital. In walks the US Government and offers you the money to shore up the retaining walls. Of course, being a sensible manager, you have already file for Chapter 11 reorganization. You have fired the wrong doing emplyees and you have an obligation to get the business back on two feet. BUT, the lawyers get involved and say you must pay bonus money to the very people responsible for the collapse of the company. HUH???? Apparently this advice is based on the fact that the bonuses are due based on contracts. Another HUH???? AIG did not undertake handing out pink slips, instead choosing to reward the employees for their arrogant, mind boggling, underhanded, stupid financial dealings.
President Obama is taking advice from lawyers, Federal Reserve, and others. I continue to say that the President of the USA can and should step in and stop this mess. This is a boondoggle of major proportions. I am angry, my neighbors are angry, people of all shapes, sizes, walks of life are angry. "We" want our President to act. Be decisive. One attorney opined that if bonuses are not paid, employees could sue & win. If they are suing a 'bankrupt' company, what do they get?? Surely, federal bailout money cannot be used for payment of any legal awards. Aren't the bonuses tied to something, like performance? If so, it seems that there would be no entitlement.
This is my common sense 'editorial' opinion.
Late addition from local attorney:
"Rant on, Sandy! The part that gets me is, they paid these as “retention” bonuses; paying the speculators, the so-called “best and brightest” who created this mess to stick around to do what, speculate some more? Do we pay bank robbers “retention” bonuses? “Hey, Frankie, thanks for robbing us & here’s another couple of sacks of cash…stick around, there’s more inside…a new shipment just came in from the Federal Reserve.”
Right now, I’d take a dullard with integrity over a fallen AIG speculator."