Find Post Investigations On:
Facebook Scribd Twitter
Friendfeed RSS Google Reader
» About This Blog | Meet the Investigative Team | Subscribe
Ongoing Investigation

Top Secret America

The Post explores the top secret world the government created in response to the attacks of Sept. 11.

Ongoing Investigation

The Hidden Life of Guns

How guns move through American society, from store counter to crime scene.

Have a Tip?

Talk to Us

If you have solid tips, news or documents on potential ethical violations or abuses of power, we want to know. Send us your suggestions.
• E-mail Us

Categories

Post Investigations
In-depth investigative news
and multimedia from The Washington Post.
• Special Reports
• The Blog

Reporters' Notebook
An insider's guide to investigative news: reporters offer insights on their stories.

The Daily Read
A daily look at investigative news of note across the Web.

Top Picks
A weekly review of the best
in-depth and investigative reports from across the nation.

Hot Documents
Court filings, letters, audits and other documents of interest.

D.C. Region
Post coverage of investigative news in Maryland, Virginia and the District.

Washington Watchdogs
A periodic look into official government investigations.

Help! What Is RSS?
Find out how to follow Post Investigations in your favorite RSS reader.

Hot Comments

Unfortunately I believe that we are limited in what we can focus on. I think that if we proceed with the partisan sideshow of prosecuting Bush admin. officials, healthcare will get lost in the brouhaha.
— Posted by denamom, Obama's Quandary...

Recent Posts
Bob Woodward

The Washington Post's permanent investigative unit was set up in 1982 under Bob Woodward.


Archives
See what you missed, find what you're looking for.
Blog Archive »
Investigations Archive »

Have a Tip?
Send us information on ethics violations or abuses of power.
E-Mail Us »

Other
Investigations
Notable investigative projects from other news outlets.
On the Web »
Top Picks »

AIG Executive Retreat Irks Lawmakers

POSTED: 04:26 PM ET, 10/ 7/2008 by Derek Kravitz

A few days after the federal government unveiled an $85 billion bailout package for the insurance company AIG, executives from one of the firm's subsidiaries went on a week-long retreat to the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, Calif. The tab: $443,000.

"I was totally unaware that there was any plan for any conference," AIG's ex-CEO, Robert B. Willumstad, said today during his testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. "Had I been aware of it I would have prevented it from happening."

When the retreat event was first noticed five days ago by The Orange County Register, a company spokesman noted that the conference included recognition for "vital independent agents who distribute AIG American General's products -- insurance for individuals and businesses. AIG American General -- a subsidiary of parent AIG -- is in much, much better financial shape than AIG itself."

"It's one of our viable businesses," spokesman Joseph Norton told the Register's "OC Watchdog" blog. "They're fully capitalized. They're fine. It wasn't a corporate kind of thing."

Rebukes about the expensive retreat were just one aspect of a broad congressional hearing into AIG today, but it showed the level of distrust and political angst by lawmakers who have been pressed by constituents to take corporate executives to task for the financial crisis.

"Well, average Americans are suffering economically. They're losing their jobs, their homes and their health insurance," said Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), the panel's chairman. "Yet less than one week after the taxpayers rescued AIG, company executives could be found wining and dining at one of the most exclusive resorts in the nation."

A copy of AIG American General's invoice from the St. Regis is available after the jump.


Download This Document | More Investigations Documents

The Tuscan-style luxury resort sits atop a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and features a private beach club with "surf butlers," three swimming pools and a championship golf course, according to its Web site.

Most of the attendees at the convention between Sept. 22 and Sept. 30 stayed in premium "pool view" rooms at the 400-room hotel, with 47-inch LCD TVs and marble bathrooms furnished with a "Deep Roman" bath and shower. The rate: $375 per night.

The group also booked 17 "ocean view" rooms, at $425 each, and one "presidential suite," discounted from its usual $3,200 a night to $1,600.

Another $9,982 was spent on food and drinks at the StoneHill Tavern, the Monarch Bayclub, in-room dining and the lobby lounge; $6,939 on golf; $1,488 at the Vogue Salon; and $1,450 on no-show and cancellation fees.

An invoice dated Oct. 3 said AIG still owed the resort $40,543 in charges after a $402,701 deposit.

The itemized bill does not show what executives specifically ordered at the spa and salon, but a look at the hotel's spa menu (PDF) shows 75-minute "intuitive massages" at $215 a pop (most of the executives spent $210 each for a spa treatment on Sept. 25) and men's and women's haircuts and styles starting at $50 and $75, respectively.

Executives also spent $147,302 on banquets at the hotel and $23,380 at the Spa Gaucin, which features three-story waterfalls and a "Well of Desires, where symbolically all your cares will be left behind."

It's unclear whether any of the AIG executives tossed a spare coin in the well.

By Derek Kravitz |  October 7, 2008; 4:26 PM ET Economy Watch , Hot Documents
Previous: An Angry Judge at Stevens Trial | Next: Keeping Cough Syrup From Toddlers

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



I light of their spending practices,I wonder if they could wipe the slate clean for me ......namely my auto loan & personal loan that I have with them ????? Can't tell you the last time I had a vacation....let alone one like that !!!!

Posted by: diann q | October 7, 2008 4:46 PM

Here it is, the reason this firm needed to fail. If we did not bail them out noone would be sitting poolside and we would not be paying a bill close to 1/2 million dollars. That should come out of eachs executives checks. Their wages should be garnished for the disrespect they have shown the American TaxPayer.

All Waxman can say is shame on you?
What a joke. We were taken to the cleaners and CONGRESS should pay for it with their jobs.

Posted by: ChicagoBob | October 7, 2008 5:21 PM

Wow! I’m not surprised. You know the good ole middle class, hard working tax paying citizens always end up picking up a tab we cannot afford. Congress should’ve rejected the $700 billion dollar plan & redistributed to those of us that really need it; those of us that without a doubt would do good and right with what was entrusted. If the money had been give to responsible & sensible adults the mortgage and credit crisis would be over. For one mortgages would be paid and caught up, college students would pay off student loans, car loans and other personal loans would’ve been taken care of, stimulating the economy, relieving the credit crisis and enabling spending to continue, giving the economy a boost. If the middle class is not doing well then the economy is not doing well. So stop having us pay for their mistakes. Raise taxes on the Execs, regulate the execs salaries and bonus.

Posted by: Concerned Citizen-AR | October 7, 2008 5:23 PM

I am sick of the way this country is being run. Congress should all be replaced.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 7, 2008 5:51 PM

SHAME SHAME SHAME - I agree- we need a totally new congress-except they will also learn the ways of DC

Posted by: dumfounded | October 7, 2008 6:12 PM

Chicgo Bob...There was no mistake...it was pure theft by a gang of Demoncraps who were running the show ! All you Libs...THIMK ! (or am I asking too much ?)

Posted by: Another Jim | October 7, 2008 6:23 PM

I hear they have another lavish event coming up on October 20th at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay just south of San Francisco. Can't imagine that is going to be on the cheap.

Posted by: AIG next boondoggle | October 7, 2008 6:51 PM

It's disgusting! I can't afford to payoff my $8000 credit card debt - but I struggle to make the payments every month! I just manage to pay my bills and always have to cut back on food! I don't remember the last time I had a nice dinner out and of course, a vacation is out of the question. Those people are just beyond criminal and have no idea how people struggle every day just to put food on their tables. I would like to see those in Congress try to live one week the way I do. Let them eat bread, rice and noodles and see how they like it.

Posted by: Karen G. | October 7, 2008 7:00 PM

I knew where this Hotel is. I grew up in Laguna Beach,but I never in my wildest dreams could dream of affording or justify in spending a night there or much less anything else. It is a international outrage and it is shameful. Just where do the executives of AIG think the money came from. We the people! Our tax dollars collected by the IRS and then distributed by the Tresury. Of course the fact that they insured a ponzi(CDO)scheme just blows my mind.

Posted by: Heather | October 7, 2008 7:07 PM

In other countries these clowns would be facing a Russian firing squad right now. It's alright though, the same God that they believe in will punish them and their children for all of eternity.

Posted by: Carlos | October 7, 2008 7:13 PM

These greedy execs should have their entire bailout revoked, and they should be thrown in prison. This is disgusting, and a perfect example of exactly who is leeching the American economy. When is it time to take serious action to reform America? NOW! Punish those responsible, and send a clear message that the American taxpayers refuse to fund the excesses of the rich.

Posted by: SC | October 7, 2008 7:13 PM

Who's going to hold these high paying execs and their companies accountable for their actions??

Posted by: NJ | October 7, 2008 7:15 PM

not Another....Jim... I find it quite ironic that you could blame the "democraps" for this, when I am sure most of these high paid execs are not. I also believe that McCain and Bush - republicans - were supporting the bailout. THINK (not THIMK)about it???

Posted by: Natalie | October 7, 2008 7:19 PM

Appartently no stipulations were set up by the federal government on AIG when the bailout was established. Shame on AIG and shame on our Federal Government. AIG is mocking the american people. It's sickenng.

Posted by: pam zirolli | October 7, 2008 7:24 PM

HOW DARE THEY! We bail out these companies and they don't learn. This bailout was to help get our country on it's feet again, not have fancy vacations. I would love to go and get pampered and stay in a nice room too but it is not in my budget. How many of them took their spouses and how much of that bill did we also pay. It is time for corporate america and DC to learn how to live within it's means, just like the rest of us do. Maybe it is time to let our money talk and stop buying products from companies who waste money on such frivilous things during this time.

Posted by: Dianne | October 7, 2008 7:25 PM

Are we, the taxpayers, going to have to foot the bill for the "AIG/CEO Golf Challenge"? I would hope not - not in the mood this year, guys.

http://ceogolfchallenge.com

Posted by: Kay | October 7, 2008 7:31 PM

Well this nothing more than a typical act of big bussiness. Congress needs to act ,again, & make a drastic QUICK example of AIG. My generation has little left to look forward to and faith is failing in our government & economy. As a whole, we no longer believe that hard work will lead to a secure future and for many it will not. We work for our families immediate needs & retirement is no longer a goal, it's a dream (quite similar to hitting the lottery).Everywhere we turn greed, corruption & stupidity slap the general public in the face. Do we have a ch/voice anymore?

Posted by: Todd | October 7, 2008 7:38 PM

And you are surprised! I'm not. We,the middle class, are no more than something these execs wipe off the bottom of their shoes. We will continue to pay until we get some leaders in our country with some backbone and morals. Do not see it in this election. Our 2 party system is a joke. It is all about favors in our country..what they personally can get, not what is for the good of the country. Politics is a career, not a calling..

Posted by: Gail | October 7, 2008 7:50 PM

I think the American people should be voting (shareholder proxies)on election day on AIG management salaries, bonuses, who sits on the board, etc...

Posted by: me | October 7, 2008 7:56 PM

Another Jim, I agree- us "Libs" should stop funding and bailing out you untrustworthy Republicans! We must be crazy to believe Republicans (who these exec's are) can be responsible with other peoples money and do the right thing. "THIMKING" clearly isn't your strong suit, so either shut up, or stop being a gullible moron and do some analytical and evaluative thiNking for yourself... I bet you thiNk Palin is purty.. you are an easily played fool.

Posted by: Kevin | October 7, 2008 8:08 PM

And how much does the resort pay in property taxes to support local and state government? If it has stayed in the same hands for more than a few years, this luxury resort, whose value has likely risen by double digits because of its location overlooking the Pacific Ocean (why did AIG choose it???) is probably paying 1% of a small fraction of the property's land value on property taxes that support local government and state spending. I don't know what sort of taxes the town or the state impose on hotel charges -- likely AIG paid more than the hotel itself did to support California's spending.

Great deal for the resort owners. They get a fabulous location for a trivial tax bill, and others get to pay the cost of providing services. Is this a great country, or what?

Posted by: LVTfan | October 7, 2008 9:16 PM

I opposed the AIG bailout and am all about ending government waste and abuse. However, this argument is weak for the following reasons:
1)These were salespeople not "Executives" as Lord Obama and other Liberals would like you to believe. Afterall, wealth envy is the only way the Dems have retained any power throughout history.
2)These salespeople had nothing to do with AIG's collapse.
3)These were the top salespeople, so their combined sales/production probably brought in more than enough money to the company to justify the cost, not to mention it's intention of motivating the rest of the sales staff.
4)This trip was planned a year in advance.
5)Anyone who has ever worked in any kind of sales job knows these trips occur all the time.
6)This was a seperately incorporated subsidiary of AIG
7)EVEN IF THEY HAD TRIED TO CANCEL THIS TRIP, THEY WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO GET THEIR DEPOSIT BACK FROM THE HOTEL!

Posted by: Hop In | October 7, 2008 11:11 PM

LVfan

1) why schmooze potential customers when you have no company. Where is the wealth envy in a complete waste of money.
2) maybe so but they sure are enjoying the fruits of the bailout
3) there is NO COMPANY ANY MORE! It got looted and this is just more looting!
4) so what?
5) I've never been invited to a 440000 sales trip. If that's what it takes to attract salesmen instead of the promise to produce wealth for my company and the salesman, whats the point besides EXTRAVAGANCE!
6) whats you're point? It is still a waste of money for any company!!!!
7) I bet the deposit would be less than the bill.

Posted by: larion | October 8, 2008 12:37 AM

If AIG had gone bankrupt would this party have gone on? Where is the sense of urgency in saving money for the company?

Even if the rooms couldn't have been canceled, why not donate them for use by military servicepeople? The Camp Pendleton Marine base is very close by to the resort.

Posted by: Vinster | October 8, 2008 12:48 AM

We the people of America, and the world for that matter, need to hold the corporate and government organizations that we fiscally support accountable. The creation of a centralized data base of payroll ratios, emissions...all specific, measurable impacts of these organizations, provided in simple format for the world’s populace. The truth shall set us free.

Posted by: tom smithwick | October 8, 2008 1:26 AM

Hey Me....
If you look into it, you will find that the majority of these execs are not Republicans, more so, they are actually mostly Democrats. Ya might consider checking your facts before opening your mouth.

Posted by: Donald | October 8, 2008 2:05 AM

whether republican or democrat - what a 'let them eat cake' attitude. remember well what came next - 'off with their heads'

Posted by: beckysfarmhaus | October 8, 2008 7:16 AM

CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSMAN AND SENATORS ABOUT THIS. THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: jess | October 8, 2008 8:58 AM

As upset as this makes me at first glance, I wonder whether the $80 billion bailout money actually benefited AIG American General, being a subsidiary. If it didn't, we really have no room to talk about what tax payer dollars paid. Excessive insurance rates, however, are a different story.

Posted by: Chuck | October 8, 2008 9:01 AM

I would be embarrassed and ashamed to face my family after a weekend such as this, when at the same time, the financial house of America was going up in flames.

This will be a new definition for the term "Capitalist Pigs".

Posted by: Thom Franklins | October 8, 2008 9:31 AM

I WANT MY MONEY BACK!!!

Posted by: Djones76 | October 8, 2008 10:31 AM

TO EVERYONE WRITING IN THIS BLOG!
WRITE YOUR CONGRESSMAN AND SENATOR! DON'T JUST VENT IN THIS BLOG!
TELL THEM TO STOP ANY BAIL OUT MONIES TO COMPANIES THAT SPEND MONIES FRIVOLOUSLY (LIKE THIS COMPANY). IN THIS CRISIS AND KNOWING WHAT WE ARE DOING TO HELP BAIL OUT, COMPANIES LIKE THIS SHOULD BE DISSOLVED! AND NO ONE, ABSOLUTELY NO ONE SHOULD RECEIVE A GOLDEN PARACHUTE!

WRITE YOUR CONGRESSMAN AND SENATOR NOW! I REPEAT WRITE YOU CONGRESSMAN AND SENATOR NOW, OR JUST CALL THEM UP ON THE PHONE!

Posted by: CC1 | October 8, 2008 10:39 AM

All I could think about when I read this is that it is time we get absolutely biblical with these people. They are wicked and we have to stop them from hurting us with their wicked ways.

Posted by: Mark | October 8, 2008 10:59 AM

To Donald:

The following statement, "...you will find that the majority of these execs are not Republicans, more so, they are actually mostly Democrats..." is a bit surprising to read, but can't be discounted just on the face of it. If I may ask, do you have a source for this information?

Posted by: Benevolus | October 8, 2008 11:23 AM

Hate to tell you, but every large insurance company on the planet has these things.

Top agent conferences are standard for a job that is 100% commission.

Posted by: EarthX | October 8, 2008 11:55 AM

I find it hard to believe the CEO knew nothing about it. What a bunch of BS. And shame on you Joseph Norton. I doesn't matter if you are a subsidiary or not, you are PART OF THE WHOLE COMPANY. Maybe you should take some more business classes!

Seems to me all of Washington needs to be replaced. And, why don't they fire all the execs of these companies and pay someone a NORMAL salary to take control.

Posted by: anna | October 8, 2008 1:13 PM

hey josh

Posted by: Anonymous | October 8, 2008 1:28 PM

hey josh

Posted by: CWWW | October 8, 2008 1:29 PM

HEy casey

Posted by: JW | October 8, 2008 1:30 PM

I am not venting, and keep you opinions to yourself before you wpew them all over everybody fatass

Posted by: JJW | October 8, 2008 1:32 PM

STAND UP AND DO SOMETHING!!!!

its great to have all of these blogs that we care share how we feel but none of it matters if we the people keep letting this happen! Contact your reps, all of them, remind them that we put them there, we can take the out of there. Don't sit back and think that the problem is going to go away unless you yourself also take action. This won't stop and unless we demand it. Let your voice be heard, take action, run yourself if you think you can do better.

LET'S DO SOMETHING HERE PEOPLE AND NOW!!!! WHAT IS EVERYONE WAITING FOR AND WHO CARES IF YOU'RE A DEM OR A REP. ITS A SLAP IN THE FACE TO ALL OF US!!!

Posted by: PISSED OFF | October 8, 2008 2:38 PM

This story is so misleading. Despite the headline, here are the facts:

1)These were primarily independent life
insurance agents – not AIG employees. In other words, these independent agents can sell life insurance products of any company they want to, not just AIG.

2)Of the more than 100 attendees, only 10 were employees of one of the insurance subsidiaries who attended to represent their company, the rest were all indepent agents.

3) Not a single corporate executive
from AIG headquarters attended.

Posted by: Hop In | October 8, 2008 3:12 PM

It's CORRUPTION on top of INCOMPETENCE.
-E X A C T L Y what led to the FALL of the Roman Empire.

And, they are not the only ones.

Posted by: El Mugroso | October 8, 2008 3:31 PM

To Hop In:

I love facts and thanks, but one is still missing. The fact of who flipped the bill for this. When we see that we didn't flip the bill the then the people will calm down.

Posted by: PISSED OFF | October 8, 2008 3:33 PM

This story is so misleading. Despite the headline, here are the facts:

1)These were primarily independent life
insurance agents – not AIG employees. In other words, these independent agents can sell life insurance products of any company they want to, not just AIG.

2)Of the more than 100 attendees, only 10 were employees of one of the insurance subsidiaries who attended to represent their company, the rest were all indepent agents.

3) Not a single corporate executive
from AIG headquarters attended.
----------
Go somewhere else with the above bone and find out for us WHO paid the bill.

Posted by: El Mugroso | October 8, 2008 3:34 PM

===========================
QUOTE:
"This story is so misleading. Despite the headline, here are the facts:

1)These were primarily independent life
insurance agents – not AIG employees. In other words, these independent agents can sell life insurance products of any company they want to, not just AIG.

2)Of the more than 100 attendees, only 10 were employees of one of the insurance subsidiaries who attended to represent their company, the rest were all indepent agents.

3) Not a single corporate executive
from AIG headquarters attended.

Posted by: Hop In | October 8, 2008 3:12 PM"
========================

Well, I went back and saw that the Invoice is made to AIG.

So, even if "no executive" attends, AIG is paying, but really with TAX PAYERS' MONEY.

Again, go somewhere with your bone. Find some dog who wants to lick it.

Posted by: El Mugroso | October 8, 2008 3:38 PM

Get over the Republican vs Democtrat thing- this is our government et al allowing these people to continue to take advantage of the system. All of these execs who are caught doing this, should be forced to sell everything they own to pay back some of what they owe the country. They should then be put in jail, as any of us would be.

Posted by: Tired of this | October 8, 2008 5:25 PM

They all should be fired, and I would never deal with AIG or any company the is associated with them.

Posted by: Mary | October 8, 2008 6:16 PM

In my opinion, everyone doing business with AIG should pull out, take their business elsewhere and let them go under totally -- they have lost all trust after pulling this type of a thing! If I were giving them any of my money they would not receive another penny. Hopefully, other corrupt and greedy companies would learn from their demise.

Posted by: Pay Them Back | October 8, 2008 6:36 PM

Donald, I find it hard to believe you can cite your researched sources on that when you can't even make the connection of who wrote the comment. (See, the commenter's name appears at the bottom of the comment, not the top.) But because I love to encourage big mouths with simple minds I will ask: Please cite your sources. I find it ammusing- it seems to be Republican discourse to say just about anything with no backing nor substance- yet simple people buy it. Unfortunately your Jedi mind tricks won't work here. Nice try little fella. You're a silly little man for making the attempt. So you know, I'm not a Democrat, but I am liberal in my views, so I'll give you another shot at this. And when indeed you can't produce a source, and you lash back at me instead... I'll forgive you, and perhaps give you a hug. Maybe just a virtual hug, I know how you NRA types can get.

ps I have no source for my earlier comment. It was based on instinct, intuition, and intensive observations of the people I know in the industry and the Republican Party.

Posted by: Kevin | October 8, 2008 7:25 PM

yes Donald, I know... you find it amusing that I misspelled amusing... and that I didn't proof read before I posted. You're very clever. I stand corrected about my earlier comment- you're a genius. Gosh, how embarrassing for you though if you didn't catch that.

Posted by: Kevin | October 8, 2008 7:40 PM

I didn't know my ass. Sounds eerily similar to Lehman bros CEO. They are all entitled no matter what state their company is in. They all need to be on "display", ie, buried in a hole ready for stoning, in a public square to where regular citizens can show them what REAL life is like,

Posted by: Tupto | October 8, 2008 8:12 PM

To those of you have have posted to this blig defending this disgusting companies repulsive behavior, I only have one question for you, How way your week at the resort? thieves!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Joe | October 8, 2008 8:21 PM

It's time to take up arms and revolt!

Posted by: David | October 8, 2008 8:40 PM

I was sick to my stomach when I read this...What will happen to these executives? They need to be fired - NOW! We bailed them out...I think we as the tax payer can give them the boot too.

How do we get thsi done? I already wrote my Senators and Representative.

This is a crime and needs to be treated in that manner.

Posted by: Jason | October 8, 2008 10:21 PM

1,000,000,000,000 dollars ($1 trilliion)

300,000,000 US People and lets assume only 200,000,000 US People are tax paying citizens and / or US Citizens

Divide the 1,000,000,000,000 dollars
among the 200,000,000 US People
that is $5000 per person.

The Bill passed closer to more that closer to $1.7T therefore each person would get about $8500 if it was distrubuted equally to the people

I think that is more fair than a single company to get $0.7T. I have 4 family members who worked for AIG, and my mother stop getting her pension by the end of 2009 even with the bail out. My brother and sister only has 5 more years to get a pension.

Yet, yesterday (the day after the bail out) AIG executive were in San Diego at a day spa. Someone has to go to jail. One previous exec got $40M for leaving, one current exec who was in san diego is going to get $7M for being in AIG for 3 months.

Oh did I mention One AIG executive and Benjamin S. Bernanke was in China during the Olympics...before Bernanke was said 'My company will bail you out' (single quotes means that it is my own interpertation)...His company the US Federal Reserve.

Benjamin and this One AIG executive went to college together. The good old boys club.

http://www.hoovers.com/aig/--ID__10095,target__executive_list--/free-co-samples-index.xhtml

Posted by: 1,000,000,000,000 dollars ($1 trilliion) | October 8, 2008 10:41 PM

For the idiot blaming everything on the Democrats: Remember Johnny McSame "suspending his campaign" (well, actually, he didn't) to "rush back to Washington" (um, actually, he took time out to interview with Katie Couric) to push the bailout through? BLAME HIM AND ALL OF THE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS WHO VOTED FOR IT! Did your state's representatives vote for it? I'll bet they did!

Posted by: Whatever | October 9, 2008 6:41 AM

Outrageous. Start writing congressmen--as if it will do any good! These guys all seem to be colluding with each other. People are losing their homes and life savings.

Posted by: lauren simpson | October 9, 2008 7:35 AM

According to CNN's story in Campbell Brown's program last night about this so-called AIG "junket," most of those in attendance were independent sales agents (not AIG executives) at what seems to have been their annual sales recognition meeting. This was a meeting of an AIG insurance subsidiary that is actually making money.

It was obvious that the CNN reporter didn't have a clue what a sales recognition meeting is and the vital role this type of meeting has in motivating a sales force and promoting communication between top executives and their sales people. One should note that even TV networks (perhaps including CNN) have annual sales meetings, and these things do cost money - which is paid back many fold by the sales these meetings motivate.

The concept of the annual sales recognition meeting was invented over 100 years ago by a genius of marketing named John Patterson, then the CEO of NCR (Nat'l Cash Register Co.), and has been adopted by virtually every company with a large sales force. Want to cripple future sales upon which AIG's future business depends? Then do something really stupid, like outlawing AIG from holding future sales recognition meetings. Oh, and when you outlaw these meetings, do the job right and also close down all hotels where such meetings are held and put their many thousands of workers in the unemployment line.

And by the way, $400,000 is not a big price for a meeting that motivates a sales force to sell billions of dollars worth of product. CNN reporters, and others expressing such uninformed outrage over this story, need to do their homework. They could start by reading Patterson's biography, "John H. Patterson - Pioneer In Industrial Welfare" by Samuel Crowther, pub. Doubleday, 1924. It's actually fascinating and highly relevant to today.

Posted by: Roger | October 9, 2008 10:46 AM

I agree 100% with chicagobob! Too bad we can't keep Bush in for a few more years so we can do more"bail outs"! This is an outrage to the middle class people who bust their asses every day just to try to get by and survive in life! Maybe the government should give the "normal" citizens a "bail out". But then again we did get our hugh stimulus checks, didn't we? suppose we can go on a week-end get away with those?

Posted by: Tammy | October 9, 2008 11:22 AM

What a slap in the face to the hard working middle/lower class people who cant even afford to go on vacation non the less go on a $440,000 vacation. And lets keep bailing out other countries when we can hardly keep ours working steadly. Maybe congress should take that $700 bil and split it up between us middle/lower class people and see how good this country would become. Maybe our dollar value would be worth something again then. The saying "The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer" is the American way. By the way I need to get to work to pay for some more of their vacations. Thank you to the United States Government!

Posted by: Brian | October 9, 2008 11:33 AM

All of us need to write to the Ritz Carlton and let them know it is immoral of them to take money from AIG and that WE ALL WILL BOYCOTT their resorts (ALL the Ritz Carltons) Also write one to the St Regis Monarch Beach and let them know also!!! We need to attack this despicable conduct ON EVERY front. Why should the big hotel chains profit from us taxpayers. Boycott them all now!

Posted by: Anonymous | October 9, 2008 11:54 AM

Yes, it is a slap in the face. I live check to check and these people are just spending money like there is no end to it. AND, it's the taxpayers money. I never wanted to help them out of the jam. Why do I have to pay??? We can't even make our own decisions anymore. The government makes them for us.

Posted by: Betty | October 9, 2008 2:18 PM

I want all that money back and the CEO in charge of this EVENT should be fired without any benefits. Maybe jail would be better.....

Posted by: Bob | October 10, 2008 11:18 AM

Gosh, Roger, I would have sold millions more in insurance this year, but I just didn't feel motivated without a sales recognition meeting to refresh me!

Correlation = Causation: what a joke!

There are many competent salespeople that do outstanding work without such outrageous compensation. Situations such as these are merely the hallmark of an industry that is overcharging.

Insofar as "creating jobs" is concerned, this could justify most anything, and only sustainable jobs are worth mentioning. Jobs built on the back of an unsustainable credit juggernaut need not apply.

Furthermore, I suggest the "subsidiary" crowd learn a little bit about what a subsidiary is - it is NOT a truly separate operation, it is a highly incestuous partner. And AIG did foot the bill - if my company were financially crippled, whether events were planned a year ahead or not, we would be tightening our belts. The difference between a small business and a large business is the many layers of bureaucracy - a lack of accountability hamstrings prudence. A lack of restraint is precisely what got our entire country, every single one of us - with our love of microwaves, fast food, and CREDIT - into this situation. We have to curb our love of getting things NOW. Because NOW we have an untenable debt load.

Consequences have already begun to be served. Please call ahead if you need to request a vegetarian meal.

Posted by: Chris | October 10, 2008 12:15 PM

to the exec.s it's time that the upper management quit getting paid outragous salaries. I sell ins., the trips don't have to be that fancy for rewards. The average agent deals with average hard working people who are trying to get by.The day's of money spent on spa's,and liquor need to be gone . The people that work for the subsidary's don't have a say of what goes on at AIG so stop the bull, turn to Jesus Christ and talk straight and repent .The wasteful spending has to stop I've been in the meetings

Posted by: common sense agent | October 10, 2008 7:15 PM

Pure GREED. It's the black hole that's sucking the life out of this country. People with too much money only care about getting more and don't care who they hurt to get it. I wouldn't mind so much if my tax dollars went to paying for there room and board in a federal prison somewhere.

Posted by: Ron | October 11, 2008 1:20 AM

I'm not much of a political person or very good at current events, but I find this unbelievable.

This just pissed me off to no end. If anyone I worked with behaved like this, they would be fired. Terminated. Relieved of tormenting the rest of us with their incompetency. I view these self-centered folks as my employees. I PAY THEIR SALARY WITH MY TAXES - WE PAY THEIR SALARY WITH OUR TAXES.

So, as if you hadn't guessed, I want to know WHY CAN'T I FIRE THEM?

Since I can't drop by AIG myself and fire them, I would like to ask for your support in pulling any interests you have with them out. Don't worry about the jobs that will be lost; those folks will get new jobs at the companies we switch to. The overpriced extremely greedy employees, well, I hate for anyone to be on unemployment, but I'd rather pay these S.O.B.'s $300/week than give them an $85 billion loan to take themselves and their buddies on a retreat. We're all suffering here. Globally. Suck it up and do the right thing, not go on a retreat because the market is scary. Fix your part!

I don't think AIG needs my business or anyone else's. They've sent the message, let's respond with action.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,
Kelly Orlando
Middle Class American

Posted by: Kelly Orlando | October 11, 2008 5:37 AM

The government should pull the bailout, hold the top executives personally liable for supporting their unemployed workforce, and watch AIG go straight to hell.

Posted by: Mark Manta | October 11, 2008 5:23 PM

Let's stop talking about this and do something: BOYCOTT AIG!
If you have insurance of any kind through AIG,find another company and cancel your AIG policy.
Everyone thinks that we could not make a dent in a company the size of AIG, but frankly rather than complain about them, I'd rather take my business elsewhere. Don't be lazy; it's obvious they aren't looking out for you.

Posted by: SAM | October 13, 2008 6:10 PM

What has been the consequence for the AIG executives at the junket? I read the the comments and the outrage people feel, but I do not see what the consequence is to the individuals. I say no more money to AIG until the people who enjoyed this bonus pay it back with their own money.

Posted by: Julia | October 13, 2008 8:11 PM

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 

© 2010 The Washington Post Company