AIG Big Bonus Getters Will Return Their Cash

You can put down your pitchforks, NY AG Cuomo told reporters this afternoon that most of the AIG big bonus receivers had agreed to return their bonuses. 9 of the top 10 bonus recipients, and 10 of the 15 bonus recipients in the infamous financial products services division, will return their monies. The holdouts were mainly overseas workers and those outside NY jurisdiction. The total remittance comes to about $30 million. Great, can we get back to fixing the economy now? Thanks.

Cuomo Says Most Huge A.I.G. Bonuses Were Returned [Dealbook]


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  1. ohenry says:

    So, how long ’till someone blames the OP? :p

    Seriousely, though, on one hand, this is good to see. Especially the folks from the financial products division, though it’ll be interesting to see what happens with the five who didn’t give theirs back.

  2. Caleb Garvey says:

    Awesome… we got back ~16% of the less than 1% of the money loaned to AIG from the government. Can everybody that doesn’t know their a** from a hole in the wall stop threatening AIG because their evil employees received bonuses?

    • consumerfan says:

      @Caleb Garvey: Not true. WE got back nothing. Some of the employees returned their bonuses to AIG.

      The whole point is that, at a time when a company is making huge losses and needs taxpayers to bail them out, that same company is paying out bonuses. And amongst the recipients are those responsible for those losses.

      The employees are not evil. I’m sure there are some good people there and some who made bad decisions.

  3. brainswarm says:

    It’s not like they could have done anything else in this heated political climate. But will Congress back off of their insane excise tax now?

  4. Onion_Volcano says:

    That 90% max tax rate is now law. Your paycheck is next.

    • StrangeTikiGod says:

      @Onion_Volcano: assuming, of course, that your employer took TARP money and your paycheck is actually a bonus > $1 million.

      • humphrmi says:

        @StrangeTikiGod: Ah but it never stops there, does it? As soon as Congress vanquishes one instance of out-of-control capitalism, they must vanquish another, and another, until they are coming after your paycheck.

        • StrangeTikiGod says:

          @humphrmi: Only if you’re paranoid.

        • chris_d says:

          Yep, it’s a tiny step from no bonuses for bailed out execs to collective farming.

        • jamar0303 says:

          @humphrmi: It’s a heck of a lot of leaps of faith to go from a tax on undeserved bonuses paid with taxpayer money to Mao-era China.

          And wasn’t it the GOP That first screamed about using taxpayer money unwisely? If you people think this isn’t unwise that says a lot, doesn’t it?

          • humphrmi says:

            @jamar0303: I don’t espouse GOP or Democratic ideals here. And it was a huge leap of faith only a short time ago that we would trade our liberty for safety. I don’t have much faith, I guess.

    • Syrenia says:

      @Onion_Volcano: The Senate passed it and the President signed it? Or the Senate passed it, the President vetoed it, and the House and Senate overrode the veto?

      Since 6.30 this morning when NPR said that only the House had passed the bill? Did I miss something?

      No… []

      The House passed it, the Senate hasn’t voted on it, and the President hasn’t seem inclined to sign it.

      That said, I am developing a huge crush on AG Cuomo. He’s my new favorite person. He’s done a great job getting at the immediate problem (that the bailout legislation even permitted this, and getting around the endless greed) without resorting to reactionary and very likely unconstitutional laws.

      Just imagine how angry everyone would have been when the people hit by the 90% tax filed the inevitable lawsuits that we then had to pay the Justice Department to fight and the Federal courts to hear.

      Here’s hoping that with the most visible symptom resolved, Congress will drop the punitive measures and do a better job of writing legislation in the future. Likelihood of the latter ever happening: 2.7%.

    • Namilia says:

      @Onion_Volcano: A tax created exclusively to punish rather than raise revenue. Lord, what have we come to?

      I have a sneaking suspicion the fallout regarding AIG was possibly to take the American focus and anger off off Washington, their huge spending bills, and the fact they just printed up one trillion more dollars.

    • vladthepaler says:

      The scary precedent was set by the bailouts themselves: “As long as we’re big enough, we can take all the stupid risks we want. If we make money, we keep it. If we lose money, the taxpayers cover our losses.”

  5. IamNotToddDavis says:

    “Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have … The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.”

    Everything is all better now that the government forced at hypothetical gunpoint the return of $30 million out of $173 billion, right?

    Surely only the finest finance experts will want t6o work for companies that have the biggest problems now, right?

    I don’t think people realize what a scary precedent this sets.

    • StrangeTikiGod says:

      @IamNotToddDavis: The scary precedent was set when employers decided, in lieu of paying a salary, they’d exploit tax loopholes and award their employees “bonuses” that weren’t actually tied to any measure of performance or success.

      And since these companies wound up short-circuiting the global financial system, I think it’s safe to say they didn’t have the finest finance experts working for them to begin with.

      • humphrmi says:

        @StrangeTikiGod: Christ on a stick, what moron keeps putting that argument out there? Yeah, all financial analysts and traders are to blame. Every frigging last one of them. This was all caused by 100% of every Bank’s employees being stupid. You hit the fucking nail on the head, you’re a freaking genius, too bad Obama doesn’t have you working for him.

        • StrangeTikiGod says:

          @humphrmi: OK, let me draw you an imaginary Venn diagram. The big circle is “People who work in the financial industry” the little circle that’s mostly contained inside the big circle is “Morons who wrecked the economy.” The gist of this is that not all people who work in the financial industry are morons who wrecked the economy, but the majority of the morons who wrecked the economy are people who work in the financial industry. So no, this wasn’t caused by 100% of every bank’s employees being stupid, this was caused by a tiny percentage that then proceeded to take their entire bank down with them.

          And, as mentioned downthread, it’s not that we’re opposed to the amount of money being awarded in “bonuses,” it’s that were it not for the companies being bailed out of imminent failure with taxpayer dollars, there would be no bonuses at all. It’s not the money, it’s the principle. Something that far too many CEOs and Boards of Executives seem to have lost on their eye-gouging climb to the top.

    • ZekeSulastin says:

      @Corporate-Shill: … which is exactly the problem with this extortion in the first place.

      It’s not liked for us to do it, why the hell is it appropriate for anyone else?

  6. Justin Larson says:

    @StrangeTikiGod: Yeah the whole “we need to retain the people who fucked up big time, year after year (although it only finally caught up to them)” thing never really made sense to me.

  7. Hoss says:

    The Sr. Cuomo I respected, this Jr. Cuomo needs to revile his whores or get a new lift to national office

  8. JulesWinnfield says:

    What the hell is that supposed to mean?

  9. Michael Figart says:

    Can this be done anytime soon. AIG had to pay these bonuses. It would of cost a ton more in court if they didn’t. The people WE elected passed the spending bill that tied their hands. Whats sad now is all these people probably the smartest people there. Now can leave and work for someother company. Cause they didnt get their retention bonus and are no longer tied to the company…

  10. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I’m not putting down my pitchfork, I’m going to just lean it up against the wall for now.

  11. metsarethe... says:

    Yeah Cuomo is a real hero, way to bully people who were legally entitled to that money by threatening to leak their names and put the people and their families in danger by some nut case who would want to do them harm.

    Yes the AIG bailout left bad taste in my mouth as well but unless the company was allowed to go into bankruptcy, which many of OUR politicans prevented from happening, they can’t modify contracts and should not be creating taxes aimed at these people.

    Furthermore, some banks were “asked” by the gov’t to take the money so as not to have only the troubled banks take the money and then cause a run on said bank. To punish these all the people at these banks, a lot of the people who had no hand in creating this mess, is crazy.

    I don’t hear anyone asking about imposing a 90% tax on any capital appreciation on people who d mortgage assistance either… (which they’re shouldn’t be) but it seems that this would fall into the same category.

  12. IamNotToddDavis says:

    @ StrangeTikiGod:”The scary precedent was set when employers decided, in lieu of paying a salary, they’d exploit tax loopholes and award their employees “bonuses” that weren’t actually tied to any measure of performance or success.”

    Ah. I see. Tax “loopholes” eh? So surely congress and the treasury, when writing up the bill to bail out this company, would’ve closed said loopholes, yes?

    (insert “Geithner doesn’t pay taxes” joke here)

    That was a rhetorical question.

    The scary precedent remains that congress screwed up by not reading the bailout bill to begin with (especially the part about bonuses), and then blamed the employees of AIG for not fixing Congress’s mistake.

    Congress should be made to return every dime of campaign funds from AIG before even SUGGESTING that people not get paid what they were CONTRACTUALLY OBLIGATED to pay.

    Instead, they fire up the populist express and bring the pitchforks like a freaking lynch mob. I’m scared that it was that easy for them to do this. What next? Take away everyone’s internet access that doesn’t pay the new “universal internet tax”?

    • alliebean says:

      @IamNotToddDavis: I don’t disagree that there are problems with trying to stop them from paying bonuses when the initial legislation had no such restrictions. But I think the fact that, were it not for the bailout money, the contracts would be worthless, needs to be stressed. They’re not going to get better by doing the same things they’ve always done, and there’s going to have to be changes.

      It’s funny that so many people seem to support AIG executive contracts, all while saying the auto unions have to revoke theirs and start all over with less pay and less benefits.

      Anyway, when someone who gets millions of dollars doesn’t get as many millions because they ran their company into the ground and have just about taken down the international financial markets in the process, well, I’m not shedding any tears for them. I wish I had their problems.

  13. badgeman46 says:

    For those of you who live in NYC or San Franscisco who happen to make that magic number $250K, do you consider yourself rich? I doubt it, how much of that goes to renting a small apartment, and other rediculous expenses in NYC? Now just think if you get a 1000 dollar bonus. Looks like you’ll only keep 100 bucks of that. 250K is not rich. Its upper middle class. I made 81K last year. I have a modest house, I own a toyota corolla. Trust me. It’s not rich. Its as middle class as it gets. Do you really want to Obama to take all your money?

    • alliebean says:

      @badgeman46: Wow, you combined a whole bunch of things together that don’t go together. Good job! :)

      1) 95% of the tax payers in the US make < $250k/year. So yeah, if you make $250k/year or more, you’re rich.

      2) The 90% tax was only for companies receiving TARP money, and only on bonuses, and only if said bonuses were $1 million or greater.

      3) $81k/year is only a little less than a third of $250k/year. I’d say you are upper middle class.

      • StrangeTikiGod says:

        @alliebean: Well put! For those of you grumping that you’re going to be taxed into oblivion for making more than 95% of America, your taxes are still about 15% LESS than they were for your bracket under “Saint Reagan.”

        It’s not punitive if you’re, at long last, paying closer to your fair share.

    • xenth says:

      @badgeman46: $250K IS rich. You’ve lost sight of your relative wealth.

  14. IamNotToddDavis says:

    @alliebean:“I think the fact that, were it not for the bailout money, the contracts would be worthless, needs to be stressed.”

    Whether it’s stressed or not, our “duly elected representatives” are the ones who let this happen. I thought from day one if a company was too big to fail then there was something wrong with our economy that only can be fixed by letting that company fail.

    But that’s not what happened. Instead they got bailed out by our “duly elected representatives” who we elect to argue and then vote about this stuff for us.

    And argue they did-

    That was December 10th. The bill passed anyway. I blame Bush for signing it, and Republicans for letting the Dems slip it through Congress. Rep. Sherman grilled Kashkari and the answer was “yes, this money can be used to pay bonuses.”

    The wrong people are getting the blame for this.

    • alliebean says:

      @IamNotToddDavis: I don’t think AIG should bear all the blame. But to act as if they’re blameless and merely victims of the economic collapse is laughable. Their existence, and their part in this problem, was definitely made possible by our government and the lack of oversight of the financial sector. However, whether or not something was legal doesn’t make it right, nor does it absolve you of you responsibilities in dealing with the consequences.

      So, AIG can suck it up and do a better job, or they can quit. I really think they should’ve been left to fail, and maybe our economy could shift away from this ridiculous system of debt, debt, more debt and insurance on debt. But, they didn’t, and now we’re officially invested in them. So I suppose we’ll see where that goes.

  15. IamNotToddDavis says:

    @alliebean: “I don’t think AIG should bear all the blame. But to act as if they’re blameless and merely victims of the economic collapse is laughable.”

    I’m not saying they are blameless. But they were done screwing up. They were about to pay the consequences for their failure, and then Congress and Bush bailed them out.

    “Their existence, and their part in this problem, was definitely made possible by our government and the lack of oversight of the financial sector.”

    So why aren’t we sending buses full of pitchforks to Chris Dodd’s house?

    “whether or not something was legal doesn’t make it right, nor does it absolve you of you responsibilities in dealing with the consequences.”

    The consequences you are approving -ex post facto punitive taxation- is a power that this current congress does not deserve, based on their own actions.

    I’m really just kinda shocked that more people aren’t freaked out by this.

  16. Plates says:

    Nothing like good old extortion by a member of the Cuomo crime family running for governor.

  17. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    “The holdouts were mainly overseas workers and those outside NY jurisdiction.”

    And their names, home addresses, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers will be made public in 3, 2, 1… What’s that? You’d like to return your bonus as well?

  18. StrangeTikiGod says:

    Meanwhile, JP Morgan Chase took $25 billion in TARP funds, and are spending $130+ million on two luxury aircraft and a hangar…are these guys tone deaf or just dumb?

  19. Anonymous says:

    what I understand is…they’re giving back $30 million of the $173 million bonuses that were paid?
    I dont necessarily agree with congress on this matter, but somehow, being unemployed for the first time in my life due to the curent state of the economy, I certainly dont agree with the rich guys at AIG getting millions in bonuses, whilst I have to scrounge for work that isnt there.
    My pitchfork is in arms and ready to poke, lol
    That bailout money was to help the people that NEED help, not help make the rich even richer.
    My 2 cents

  20. lonestarbl says:

    CNN now saying $50 Mil

  21. Corporate-Shill says:

    Fark the hold outs.

    Outside of the NY Jurisdiction, meaning they are in New Jersey?

    Give us their names. I got some friends who will quickly solve this little problem.

  22. papahoth says:

    Its laughable all the defense of those getting money that was switched to retention bonuses when they could not pass them off as bonuses for good work. There was nothing earned here. It was just another example of Wall Street not getting it. Those who bring long term financial success deserve the rewards. Short term success that ends up wrecking AIG deserve nothing.

  23. burnedout says:

    I don’t know why I can’t reply specifically to people, but this is for Onion_Volcano up there who wasn’t clear on whether the bonus tax is law yet…

  24. faintandfuzzies says:

    They need to give every penny of the $160B that was issues out. What is being given back is just a drop in the bucket. I’m not putting my pitch fork away yet!

  25. njrob_2006 says:


    Really? How is that?

  26. njrob_2006 says:


    “the majority of the morons who wrecked the economy are people who work in the financial industry”

    right….so defaulting on your mortgage and not paying your credit card bills and spenging more than you have any realistic exectation to make has nothing to do with wrecking the economy. GET A CLUE! The root of all problems is mortgage and credit default. The fact that AIG wrote insurance policies against defaults caused their solvency issues. So if no one defaulted, AIG would never have had any problems. Get it Einstein?

  27. njrob_2006 says:

    jamar0303….please explain how these people ruined our financial system?

    • jamar0303 says:

      @njrob_2006: OK, if we had some more responsible/smarter people calling the shots at AIG they would have seen any attempts to pass around mortgages like investments for the time bomb they were and not touched them. But no, and look where we are now.

  28. njrob_2006 says:

    I think badgeman46’s point is that buying power is different in different parts of the counntry. The statistic that really makes no sense is that if you make more than $250 K per pear you are rich. That’s great, because if you make more than $1.50 per day you are rich in many parts of China. If you make $500K per year and pay about 165K in fed taxes plus state and local taxes and social security, but you also pay for your own health insurance and medical care, how is that not a fair share? I don’t live in New York City, but I did when i was youngernad trust me. Making $250K barely allows you to not have roomates in a 1 bedroom apartment….

  29. trujunglist says:

    Ugh, you people that support the execs getting the bonuses are fucking tools, there is really no other way to put it.
    Oh no, I only get 10% of a million dollars for totally fucking everything up, god, what the hell is this world coming to?
    Assholes, you and all your friends! I work my goddamn ass off and do a good job, save my company money, certainly don’t destroy the entire company + part of the world economy, and all I got as a “bonus” this year were 2 movie tickets. I fucking hate 99% of movies that are released these days. That’s like giving me a Celine Dion CD. Uhhh, thanks I guess?
    Yeah, NO PITY. Fuck you, you incompetent pricks, you don’t deserve anything except to get fired, but instead you get hundreds of thousands of dollars? They did not earn anything, when will you folks understand that? You have to EARN bonus traditionally, it’s not just automatic.

  30. MooseOfReason says:

    So, even if the Treasury gets all $165 million back, we still spent $180 billion on a company that should have went bankrupt.

    Want fries with that?

  31. njrob_2006 says:

    what do you expect for cleaning toilets?

  32. njrob_2006 says: