Wednesday, March 25, 2009

AIG Employee Resigns

Jake DeSantis, an executive vice president for AIG's notorious financial products unit, has resigned. His resignation letter was sent to CEO Edward Liddy and the New York Times. Some highlights:
I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down.

If true, he's hardly a greedy, taxpayer-bilking con artist. He's not getting rich from any of this, and killing himself in the process. I'd quit, too.
I never received any pay resulting from the credit default swaps that are now losing so much money. I did, however, like many others here, lose a significant portion of my life savings in the form of deferred compensation invested in the capital of A.I.G.-F.P. because of those losses. In this way I have personally suffered from this controversial activity — directly as well as indirectly with the rest of the taxpayers.

Hmmm... you mean AIG employees are taxpayers, too? Unlike Geithner, Dodd, and many others who are calling foul over this man's bonus. They're allowed to "forget" to pay their taxes.
I have the utmost respect for the civic duty that you are now performing at A.I.G. You are as blameless for these credit default swap losses as I am. You answered your country’s call and you are taking a tremendous beating for it.

But you also are aware that most of the employees of your financial products unit had nothing to do with the large losses. And I am disappointed and frustrated over your lack of support for us. I and many others in the unit feel betrayed that you failed to stand up for us in the face of untrue and unfair accusations from certain members of Congress last Wednesday and from the press over our retention payments, and that you didn’t defend us against the baseless and reckless comments made by the attorneys general of New York and Connecticut.

Ouch. That's just poor leadership. Leaders shield their people from the crap that rolls downhill toward them. Liddy's not alone. Many, many people who knew the truth of the situation sat on the sidelines last week and let good people get beaten up. It's disgusting, really.
I think your initial decision to honor the contracts was both ethical and financially astute, but it seems to have been politically unwise... You’ve now asked the current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. to repay these earnings. As you can imagine, there has been a tremendous amount of serious thought and heated discussion about how we should respond to this breach of trust.

As most of us have done nothing wrong, guilt is not a motivation to surrender our earnings. We have worked 12 long months under these contracts and now deserve to be paid as promised. None of us should be cheated of our payments any more than a plumber should be cheated after he has fixed the pipes but a careless electrician causes a fire that burns down the house.

Many of the employees have, in the past six months, turned down job offers from more stable employers, based on A.I.G.’s assurances that the contracts would be honored. They are now angry about having been misled by A.I.G.’s promises and are not inclined to return the money as a favor to you.

The only real motivation that anyone at A.I.G.-F.P. now has is fear. Mr. Cuomo has threatened to “name and shame,” and his counterpart in Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, has made similar threats — even though attorneys general are supposed to stand for due process, to conduct trials in courts and not the press.

They kept their part of the deal and are not being fed to the wolves for their efforts. And the wolves are people who should be upholding the law, not giving in to posturing vigilantism. I've held that this whole "outrage" is counterproductive, but after reading this I can't help but be ashamed of my government. This is just plain ridiculous. The pompous jerks who are screaming the loudest are the ones who knew all along what was going on. Despicable.
On March 16 I received a payment from A.I.G. amounting to $742,006.40, after taxes. In light of the uncertainty over the ultimate taxation and legal status of this payment, the actual amount I donate may be less — in fact, it may end up being far less if the recent House bill raising the tax on the retention payments to 90 percent stands. Once all the money is donated, you will immediately receive a list of all recipients.

He's voluntarily providing more visibility and accountability than our foolish government ever thought to ask for. This man shouldn't be punished by our government. He should be running it.

If outrage where monetizable our government would have fumed us out of the recession already. It's ironic that the king--I mean president of outrage last week is asking us all this week to calm down. You stoked this fire, Mr. President. We hired you to fix this mess, not to spend one week working on fixing it and the next week trying to widen it. Get your head in the game and stop grandstanding to get your socialist agenda passed before we come to our senses.

Some of us already have, and we're telling you to stop. Enough of this irresponsible behavior. Good and decent people are paying the price for your arrogance, hubris, and manipulation. No one can be this clueless by accident. Just stop.

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