Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae Keep Date With Six Flags

By David S. Hilzenrath

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are getting ready to go on another roller-coaster ride.

The two companies have rented the Six Flags amusement park in Largo for separate employee appreciation events next month.

"The purpose is to reward employees for their hard work, and we felt that was particularly important given these challenging times and the fact that our employees, you know, have in fact been working very hard," Freddie Mac spokeswoman Sharon McHale said.

The mortgage funding giant arranged the event last year and couldn't get its money back, McHale said.

Since then, the stock prices for the two companies have plunged and the government has put in place the framework for a potential taxpayer bailout of the companies.

Fannie Mae spokesman Brian Faith said the District-based mortgage finance giant canceled its annual holiday party but decided to move forward with a family picnic in mid-September for its 6,000 employees after booking the Six Flags park months ago.

Freddie Mac's senior management considered canceling the event in light of recent developments but decided to go ahead as planned, McHale said. In a recent message to employees, executive vice president for human resources Paul G. George wrote that employees and managers at all levels had offered an outpouring of opinions. McHale relayed this excerpt from George's comments:

"After taking these views into consideration, the management team determined that, now more than ever, the Six Flags family day for employees, their families and work colleagues is important because we recognize our employees continue to work hard, are dedicated to the company, and are focused on ensuring we serve our mission as we navigate these challenging times."

Each employee is invited to bring his or her children and one other guest. The company, which is based in McLean, has about 5,ooo employees in the Washington area.

Staff writer Thomas Heath contributed.

By Dan Beyers  |  August 14, 2008; 2:48 PM ET  | Category:  Fannie Mae , Freddie Mac
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

As the husband to a form Fannie employee I got to enjoy a couple trips to this event at six flags. It was awesome, no lines for the coasters, you can get off a ride and get right back on. Its like being at Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch without the constant fear of personal violation. That being said I don't know if they can justify the cost given their poor financial standing.

Posted by: NWP | August 14, 2008 3:58 PM

So what Washington Post? Why don't you all find someone else to pick on? Haven't you all lost lots of money and readers the last few years? Maybe if you all would find more significant things to write about, you might not be bleeding red ink, too.

Posted by: Anon | August 14, 2008 10:18 PM

Here's a crazy thought: before taxpayers have to foot the bill, maybe all the executive bonuses and shareholder dividends should be repaid.

Otherwise this is just a big, government-backed ponzi scheme to rob taxpayers and line the pockets of slimebags...

Posted by: Anon | August 17, 2008 5:55 PM

Funny how some people here are defending the companies. Dear Mr.Anon, did you know whose money these companies gambled with? Do you know who is going to pay for these joyrides? The incompetent and greedy management cost the company 100s of billions of dollars. Now you want us to lay off them and let them enjoy? You've got to be kidding me.

Posted by: Jackson | August 21, 2008 6:01 AM

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