In March of 2009 it was revealed that AIG had paid out $165 million in bonus payments to its various executives, including 73 getting more than $1 million each, sparking a backlash in Washington which ad just bailed out AIG with a $185 Billion injection.
Wall Street (and, especially, AIG) was bailed out by U.S. taxpayers and the government, paid themselves record bonuses and once again are riding record profits (and record bonuses) while the rest of the country has been economically devastated and they couldn’t care less.
AIG was rescued by the Federal Reserve in the days following the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008. Benmosche did not become CEO until nearly a year later.
The Asshole in question negotiated a pay package with a base salary of $3 million a year, along with bonuses and options of up to $10.5 million. According to CNN, immediately after starting the job he took a two-week vacation to his summer house in Croatia and requested use of AIG corporate jets for personal travel. And he was vocal in his defense of AIG’s pay policies and his criticism of Congressional oversight.
According to his words in a recent interview, outrage over bonuses paid to bankers “was intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with their pitch forks and their hangman nooses, and all that – sort of like what we did in the Deep South (decades ago). And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong,” Chief Executive Bob Benmosche was quoted as saying in an interview in The Wall Street Journal.
Soon after the head of insurer AIG apologized after coming under fire for equating criticism of banker bonuses with the lynching of African-Americans in the Deep South.
“I find it unbelievably appalling that Mr. Benmosche equates the violent repression of the African American people with congressional efforts to prevent the waste of taxpayer dollars,” said Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings.