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Make the AIG Execs Work for Free

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on March 18, 2009

For some reason the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal have been defending the $165 million in rentention bonsues the executives of AIG paid themselves recently.

The paper aruges that these are valid employment contracts and that letting these valuable employees go could cost the government more money if they jump to some hedge fund where they can trade against AIG’s $1.6 trillion portfolio.

I’m reminded of the family of a infamous bank robber in California some years back who sued the City of Los Angeles for not tending to the robber’s wounds fast enough before he died. The guy and his partner had litterally dressed in armor and—high on drugs—shot twenty-something people including several policemen armed with just pistols to the bad guys’ machine guns. Fortunately a judge threw that case out.

Let’s move beyond the fine print in contracts and talk about right and wrong here. No AIG employee should be getting $6 million bonuses paid with taxpayer money. They should be working for free to help straighten out the mess they made. Better yet they should be doing it in orange jump suits so we can see if they try to escape to the hedge fund down the street.

Reader Comments


March 19, 2009 7:21 AM

For years Palmeri has been promoting real estate as a get-rich-quick scheme and as a tool to attain the American Dream. His so-called “journalism” is in reality a cleverly disguised charade for real estate info-commercial. Now that the real estate bubble has collapse, Palmeri is changing color like a chameleon in order to avoid being identified as part of the sham. In order to conceal his disgraceful and distasteful real estate promotion, Palmeri must fabricate a diversion that would draw attention away from his cheer-leader role during the height of the real estate speculation. Pointing fingers at AIG's excesses, Palermi seeks to deflect his sins and appear holy among the multitude when in fact he himself has betrayed all human decency. By ganging-up upon a perceived common enemy, Palmeri wants to be perceived as a member of the virtuous. It's an old Machiavellian tactic. If any AIG employee wears orange jump suit, Palmeri should be the first to join him.

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BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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