Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Another A.I.G. Victim Of Our Dem Leaders

Excerpts from a NY Times op-ed - - -

The following is a letter sent on Tuesday by Jake DeSantis, an executive vice president of the American International Group’s financial products unit, to Edward M. Liddy, the chief executive of A.I.G.

DEAR Mr. Liddy,

It is with deep regret that I submit my notice of resignation from A.I.G. Financial Products. I hope you take the time to read this entire letter. Before describing the details of my decision, I want to offer some context:

I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P.

I was in no way involved in — or responsible for — the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage.

After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials.

In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.

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. …

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

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….

[However,] 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.

My guess is that in October, when you learned of these retention contracts, you realized that the employees of the financial products unit needed some incentive to stay and that the contracts, being both ethical and useful, should be left to stand.

That’s probably why A.I.G. management assured us on three occasions during that month that the company would “live up to its commitment” to honor the contract guarantees. …

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.

So what am I to do? There’s no easy answer. I know that because of hard work I have benefited more than most during the economic boom and have saved enough that my family is unlikely to suffer devastating losses during the current bust.

Some might argue that members of my profession have been overpaid, and I wouldn’t disagree.

That is why I have decided to donate 100 percent of the effective after-tax proceeds of my retention payment directly to organizations that are helping people who are suffering from the global downturn.

This is not a tax-deduction gimmick; I simply believe that I at least deserve to dictate how my earnings are spent, and do not want to see them disappear back into the obscurity of A.I.G.’s or the federal government’s budget. …

This choice is right for me. I wish others at A.I.G.-F.P. luck finding peace with their difficult decision, and only hope their judgment is not clouded by fear.

Mr. Liddy, I wish you success in your commitment to return the money extended by the American government, and luck with the continued unwinding of the company’s diverse businesses — especially those remaining credit default swaps.

I’ll continue over the short term to help make sure no balls are dropped, but after what’s happened this past week I can’t remain much longer — there is too much bad blood. I’m not sure how you will greet my resignation, but at least Attorney General Blumenthal should be relieved that I’ll leave under my own power and will not need to be “shoved out the door.”


Jake DeSantis

The entire DeSantis resignation letter is here.

I’m sorry for the way he was treated and understand why he’s leaving. I wish him well.

We should worry for America when scoundrels like Dodd, Frank and others with help from the Obama administration and politicians like Andrew Cuomo and Richard Blumenthal remain office while Jake DeSantis is viciously attacked by some of the very people who created the problems he's worked to fix.

Hat tip: AC


drew said...

J-in-C, I know a few of the AIGFP people very well, as my college roommate's wife works/worked for AIGFP for some time. I don't know whether or not she is still there, since they don't answer the telephone anymore. The people at AIGFP that are currently the target of Congress' "outrage" and the crystal-clear (yet denied profusely) threats from both Cuomo and Blumenthal are NOT the people who ran the company into tatters - those folks are long gone, along with their money.

The folks left behind stayed on the basis of a promise backed by a contract, that they would be paid in March of this year. They held up their end of the deal, and AIG did as well. Now the government is trying to compel AIG not to honor its contractual commitment, and two extremely opportunistic Attorneys General have decided to start their push to the Governorship on the backs of the AIGFP folks.

These people are living in fear for their lives, for their privacy, and for their reputations. Like the man (I confess I forget who) said, "...where do I go to get my reputation back?" And all of this damage is for the personal aggrandizement of a few politicians, who are perhaps the more venal of the two groups involved. The politicians who continue to grandstand this matter should be run out of town on a rail, and have their own transgressions subject to such scrutiny.

Both Blumenthal and Cuomo learned a wrong lesson from Client No. 9; however, they never remembered the part about the inevitable fall that will occur. Each will have to answer at some time, because they are sure to go too far in situations such as this.

Personally, I think that Andrew Cuomo has already crossed the line, in his poorly-veiled threats to reveal identities and amounts involved. If any of the people involved are harmed in any way, he should be looking at criminal endangerment charges. It's a fair bet that some of the loonies will go over the top in their protests, and someone will be hurt. Many politicians should worry about this, rather then their next election.

bill anderson said...

Drew, you are so right. Indeed, Dr. Evil, a.k.a. Client #9, was relentless in his destruction of AIG when he ran out Hank Greenberg.

Spitzer is a guy who can make Mike Nifong look to be honest. He made his career wielding the Martin Act and shaking down one business after another. If prosecutors had done like Spitzer, he would have gone to jail for "structuring" and other such crimes.

Anonymous said...

But we all must remember, as Senator (up)Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told us: "The American people don't care."
Tarheel Hawkeye