More Questions on when Geithner knew about the bonuses

The New York Times claims that Geithner didn't only learn about the bonuses until March 10th. Bloomberg was reporting about the bonuses on January 28th.

Jan. 28 (Bloomberg) -- American International Group Inc., the insurer saved from collapse last year by government money, may have committed more than $1 billion to employees to keep them from leaving the company.

About 400 workers at New York-based AIG’s financial products unit may get $450 million in two installments, said two people familiar with the situation who declined to be identified because the plan is confidential. That is in addition to about $619 million in retention pay going to 4,200 executives and employees at subsidiaries including life insurance.

AIG is trying to hold onto employees while it sells businesses to repay a government loan. The insurer took a federal bailout in September after the financial-products unit, which sold credit-default swaps that plunged in value amid the housing market collapse, caused about $34 billion in writedowns. AIG said the program was disclosed before the government rescue, which is now valued at $150 billion.

“I was extremely disappointed -- but not surprised -- to learn that AIG will be awarding bonuses to the very division that drove the company into the ground,” said Representative Elijah Cummings, a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, in an e-mail. AIG shouldn’t be awarding “millions of unmerited dollars to employees while at the same time begging the U.S. government for financial life support.” . . . .

Ed Morrissey has a video where a congressman is publicly telling Geithner at a public hearing about the bonuses a week earlier than Geithner claimed that he knew.

Tim Geithner and Congress claim that they got blindsided by the AIG bonuses late last week, before anyone had a chance to stop AIG from paying them. However, C-SPAN’s video library tells a very different story. Watch the clip from a March 3rd hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee in which Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) specifically mentions the upcoming payouts of over $162 million in bonuses to AIG execs, the very same number that inflamed Washington DC this week . . . . .

The BBC reports that Geithner negotiated the deal with AIG last fall:

[Geithner] played a pivotal role in the intense negotiations which took place before Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, and also helped forge the deals involving AIG and JP Morgan. . . . . .

Here is something else from the end of last year. Apparently, Geitner was the person in charge of the negotiations with AIG.

Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) -- American International Group Inc., the insurer that said yesterday it scrapped bonuses for top executives after a U.S. bailout, will still pay 130 managers “cash awards” to stay with the firm, including $3 million to retirement services chief Jay Wintrob.

Wintrob, 51, will get the “retention” payment in two installments, the first in April 2009 and the rest a year later, New York-based AIG said today in a regulatory filing. The firm previously disclosed the program in a Sept. 26 filing and said today that Wintrob and Chief Financial Officer David Herzog elected to get the payments four months later than planned.

“The expectation from the public and Congress was that they weren’t getting bonuses, not that they’d be pushed off by several months,” said David Schmidt, a consultant at executive pay firm James F. Reda & Associates. “That clearly violates the spirit of AIG saying they’ll forgo their bonuses.”

Chief Executive Officer Edward Liddy is encouraging top employees at AIG subsidiaries to remain so the units retain their value while he finds buyers. The insurer is selling businesses, including the U.S. retirement group Wintrob heads, to repay a $60 billion loan included in the expanded government rescue package AIG got this month.

“We’ve said they aren’t eligible for annual bonuses, and they’re not,” Nicholas Ashooh, spokesman for AIG, said today in an interview. “What we’re talking about are retention agreements -- they’ve been pushed back by several months -- and it’s our hope that those businesses will be sold in several months.” . . . .

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