Dear AIG: I Quit!

In the ongoing saga of the economic crisis, AIG has been squarely portrayed as the villains. Everybody piled on the bandwagon of villifying the greed and brazenness of their multi-million dollar bonuses (yes, including this blog).

But is that the full and true story? Here's a letter published in the Opinion section of The New York Times - it's a resignation letter, actually, sent by Jake DeSantis, an executive VP of the AIG's much maligned Financial Products unit, explaining why he quit:

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. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down.

Link

(Photo: jdiggans [Flickr])


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So contracts are okay to break if the ones who benefit from them make more than a certain amount of money? Just trying to figure out where the line lies.
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Mr. DeSantis asks us to pity him. He got a bonus that after taxes was worth $740,000 to him, which means he probably got more than $1 million of taxpayer money. For what? For leading AIG into a vastly speculative suckers' game where he gambled, big-time, and lost?And because we bought into Reagan's idiocy of deregulation, we now have to bail him out. Why the hell should he get a bonus for that? He ought to be out on the street standing in an unemployment line with the rest of the people who lost their houses and jobs in this crazy financial game DeSantis helped promote.

So he's going back to his multi-million dollar Connecticut mansion and sitting on his pity-pot. He and his ilk should all be in jail.
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JH, I realize that Jake DeSantis doesn't have much in common with John Galt, since he is a fictional character. Its more of a commentary on how AIG is viewed by a majority of the public. First of all AIG is vilified by the increasingly government influenced media, just like every other large influential company (except Apple of course). Then conveniently the government swoops in to 'save' (aka nationalize) this failing corporation using, like you said, our money. And thirdly how this successful executive who instead of going down with the ship and refusing to work for government goons has the chutzpah to resign on the grounds of his moral values is made to look like a whining quitter. As for the Golgafrinchans, i think they are that family on E! with the new show "Keeping Up with the Golgafrinchans"...
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