Jersey City Independent

Groups Set To Picket AIG At Exchange Place Tomorrow

The Jersey City Independent — Thursday, November 5, 2009

By Jon Whiten

In September 2008, during the height of the financial meltdown, the federal government bailed out American International Group — better known to most as plain ole' AIG — to the tune of $85 billion. Eventually, additional federal money would grow that dollar amount to around $182 billion.

In theory, AIG is on the hook to pay the government — and the American taxpayers — back all of the bailout money it received. It hasn't yet, and many observers doubt it ever will. Meanwhile, the company in March announced it was handing out executive bonuses totaling $165 million, and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has estimated that bonus payouts for AIG's troubled Financial Products unit could reach $450 million, even though that unit was instrumental in causing the catastrophic losses that led to the government bailout. Bonus payouts for the entire company have been estimated at around $1.2 billion, and AIG CEO Robert Benmosche's current pay package totals $10.5 million each year, including $3 million in cash and $4 million in stock options.

"We think it's disgusting," says Leslie Schlesinger, a Community Reinvestment Act organizer for the statewide advocacy group NJ Citizen Action. "And we think a lot of America thinks it's disgusting."

With all that in mind, Citizen Action and the Hudson County Monday Morning Network are staging an informational picket tomorrow to urge AIG to rescind the bonuses it is handing out and to take back the bonuses it has already paid out.

The picket will be outside of AIG's Jersey City offices (101 Hudson St.) at noon tomorrow.

Top Top | NJCA Homepage | NJCA in the News