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AIG Cancels Ritz Trip, Other Events

POSTED: 02:28 PM ET, 10/10/2008 by Derek Kravitz

Amid a firestorm of criticism over its $443,000 executive retreat to a luxurious southern California resort, bailed-out insurance giant AIG Inc. is canceling its Ritz-Carlton business meeting in Half Moon Bay, Calif., and most of its other get-togethers, company officials said.

AIG spokesman Joe Norton said the company is canceling the Ritz-Carlton event after "reevaluating all of our operations, obviously including this kind of function."

Earlier this week, officials had defended the gathering and a similar event at Atlanta's Marquis Marriott next week, saying they were a regular part of business and paid for by money-making subsidiaries.

Bloomberg reports that AIG considered buying advertisements to explain its position on the events, but was told by its public-relations consultant, George Sard, that it would be "a really bad idea."

"To spend the taxpayer's money on an expensive ad campaign to apologize for how you used taxpayer money leaves you open to further attacks," Sard, chief executive officer of New York-based Sard Verbinnen & Co., wrote in an e-mail to AIG executive Nicholas J. Ashooh (and mistakenly sent to Bloomberg).

The cancellations also come on the heels of AIG's announcement that it would need another $38 billion from the Federal Reserve, a huge increase over the Fed's previously announced $85 billion rescue package for AIG. .

By Derek Kravitz |  October 10, 2008; 2:28 PM ET Economy Watch
Previous: Palin Report, Stevens Trial, Obama Donors | Next: VA: Hospital Head Abused Travel, Purged Files


Please email us to report offensive comments.

They'll move ahead with the Atlanta event and others like it. They'll simply take the "Top Producers" away from the hotel to get massages, steaks, cigars, and strippers. They are a bunch of thieves. I will never do business again with AIG.

Posted by: Mr King | October 10, 2008 6:45 PM

This BS has simply got to stop. It's one thing for a company that is making a "fair profit" to reward it's employees accordingly, but when a company such as AIG is in the tank and needs the federal government to bail them out to the tune of many billions of tax-payer dollars...well, no, none of this is appropriate. It's time for all of the folks at AIG to tighten their belts, just like everyone else here on "Main Street". No more free lunches, no more boondoggle trips, etc. Get with reality for a change!

And, by the way, the highest corporate junkies should agree to take a $1 per year salary until they can prove that they can turn this company around into a profitable enterprise. Golden parachutes be damned! When one is hired to run a company, they are not hired to run it into the ground and should not be compensated in any shape or form when they fail, especially if they are dismissed for failing!

Makes my blood boil!

Posted by: Lee | October 10, 2008 7:07 PM

And the general AIG argument goes like this:

"I'm AIG American General...I'm a crybaby...I know my parent is in the tank but I they can't just take money away from me. They can't make us cut back on our espenses! WAAAAHHH! After all, I made money! I made money last year! WAAAHHH!"

That's like me asking my mother for a huge loan because I'm out of work and even though my wife is still bringing in $350,000 a year...I can't ask HER for that money!

Posted by: Crybaby WAAA! | October 10, 2008 7:29 PM

Really...AIG paid Martin Sullivan $5 million to run it into the ground in under 3 years?

I could have run that company into the ground for only $4 million. Suckers!

Posted by: The Man | October 10, 2008 7:32 PM

My husband's worker's comp claim was denied by AIG. He has never filed a worker's comp claim before in his life. It was completely legimate.
I cannot even explain how frustrated, angry, and helpless I feel. We should have been paid by AIG, but now we are bailing them out???
Guess what, we are taxed out literally and fuguratively!
All the monies given to AIG by the government's bail out should be taken back after their spa "get away".
No one on main street is planning any kind of get away like this. Why should they who created the problem benefit from the working man's dollar??!!

Posted by: Shazam | October 10, 2008 8:52 PM

these guys don't know how to do a risk stress test but run AIG.
What a jokers, just fresh from Reuters, ...

Credit markets do not function. Why not, because the word
credit comes from credibility," AIG Vice Chairman Jacob Frenkel told a group of top global bankers at a lively luncheon where he took a philosophical view of the upheaval in financial markets.
"The left side of the balance sheet has nothing right and the right side of the balance sheet has nothing left. But they are equal to each other. So accounting-wise we are fine," he told the Institute of International Finance."

"Transparency is 'what you see is what you get' -- and what you don't see gets you," Frenkel said.

Posted by: Tim | October 12, 2008 8:07 AM

We should not have bail anyone out. Both candidates voted for it but it would have been unpopular to not vote for it. Everyon should pay for their own mistakes.

Posted by: JoAnn | October 12, 2008 6:21 PM

Ever heard of a tele-conference? Why do we have to pay for these lousy businessmen to get together again? Do your spa treatments come with a happy ending? Do you think those all expenses paid trips got them out of this situation to begin with? I think not.

I am livid, and I don't understand why our elected officials bailed AIG out! How are AIG lobbyist getting paid? They are paid by our own government to pass their agenda... it makes me sick!

Posted by: simplydisgusted | October 13, 2008 12:03 PM

AIG is hosting yet ANOTHER party in Atlanta THIS WEEK!! Another sales party at OUR expense! More open bars, massages, and golf outings for a bunch of fat greedy stockbrokers on the taxpayers dime. Where does this craziness end? Let's be sure the Senators and Congressman, especially Elijah Cummings, are aware of this event being done under the cover of FSC Securities.

Posted by: Mr Blue | October 13, 2008 2:00 PM

You so-called journalists should check your facts before printing. If you do some research, you'll find out that the "executive retreat" didn't actually involve any AIG executives. You'll also find out that 90% of the attendees were insurance brokers who don't work for AIG and were given this trip to reward them for bringing AIG new business. Perhaps you've heard of these types of incentives before: if you make my company millions of dollars, I'll give you a weekend trip to a spa. Despite what you idiot "journalists" report, this actually makes good business sense.

Posted by: Nationalized Worker | October 15, 2008 12:07 PM

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