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Rescued by Taxpayers, $440,000 for Retreat Including "Pedicures, Manicures"
Less than a week after the federal government committed $85 billion to bail out AIG, executives of the giant AIG insurance company headed for a week-long retreat at a luxury resort and spa, the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, California, Congressional investigators revealed today.
"Rooms at this resort can cost over $1,000 a night," Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) said this morning as his committee continued its investigation of Wall Street and its CEOs.
AIG documents obtained by Waxman's investigators show the company paid more than $440,000 for the retreat, including nearly $200,000 for rooms, $150,000 for meals and $23,000 in spa charges.
"Average Americans are suffering economically," said Henry Waxman, chairman of the House oversight committee. "They are losing their jobs, their homes and their health insurance. 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."
An AIG spokesman said the event was to entertain independent insurance salesmen of AIG American General - one of the company's main US operations which offers life, health and accident policies.
"It was a recognition event for independent agents of AIG American General who distribute insurance policies," said the spokesman. "It was planned months ago."
"Looking back at my time as CEO, I don't believe AIG could have done anything differently," said Willumstad. "The market seizure was an unprecedented global catastrophe."
“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.”
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.
Sullivan also came under fire for reassuring shareholders about the health of the company last December, just days after its auditor, Pricewaterhouse Cooper, warned of him that AIG was displaying “material weakness” in its huge exposure to potential losses from insuring mortgage-related securities.