AIG Exec Whines About Public Anger, and Now We're Supposed to Pity Him? Yeah, Right
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I know plenty of people who work in this world, and I've met very few who didn't hate with every cell in their bodies anyone in their own companies who made more money than they did or got bigger bonuses at Christmastime. Gossiping about each others' bonuses, and bitching about each others' compensation, is the national pastime for these people.
So forgive me if I don't buy this story that poor Jake and his buddies didn't know about Cassano's CDS business.
Also, there's this: let's just say, Jake, that you're telling the truth, that you don't know anything about this toxic portfolio. If that's the case, then why the fuck does anyone need to retain you at an exorbitant salary to help unwind that very portfolio? If these transactions aren't and never were your expertise, then where the hell is your value here?
When I spoke to Christine Pretto, the AIG spokeswoman, and asked about those bonuses, she said that AIG needed to retain people like you in order to take advantage of your "knowledge of these transactions." So if you don't have knowledge of these transactions, what are you being paid for? Your winning attitude?
Then there's the matter of Jake's other job offers. About that: It was apparent as early as last February that Cassano had basically destroyed not only the unit but perhaps AIG itself. The company announced over $11 billion in losses around that time.
If I'm Jake DeSantis, and I'm really innocent, I'm looking for a job that very instant. And I'm taking the first good job anyone offers me. Because by then I'd have realized that I was working for the latest version of Enron. That the man I've been working for the last six or seven years has turned out to be one of the most irresponsible Wall Street villains of all time, a man who single-handedly destroyed the 18th-largest company in the world. If I'm Jake DeSantis, I'm quitting out of moral disgust, because I don't want to be associated with this kind of behavior.
The only reason I'd stay is if I didn't have a choice. Which I feel sure is what happened here. If Jake DeSantis didn't take advantage of an opportunity to get a better job elsewhere with a company that didn't hide billions in losses and make $500 billion bets with money they didn't have, that's his fucking problem.
The notion that I the taxpayer have to pay this asshole a million-dollar bonus because he turned down a better job at a less-guilty company is repugnant to begin with; the notion that he stayed at AIGFP because he expected me to pay him this bonus makes me hate him even more.
But it's all moot, because I feel quite sure it's a lie. As one trader for another firm told me not long ago when I asked what he thought about the need to pay these "retention bonuses" to these "valued employees" at AIGFP:
"Yeah, right. Who would hire these guys? They'd stay for a dollar if you offered it to them, much less a million."
I mean, half of Wall Street is unemployed right now. There are plenty of unemployed traders out there whose resumes don't include such entries as "Worked for years at small unit of AIG that helped destroy the universe; throughout that time was completely ignorant of burgeoning global disaster unfolding 5 feet from my desk."
The idea that other companies would be so eager to pass over the seas of truly innocent available people in order to scoop up some still-employed veteran of AIGFP -- and that they would be so enthusiastic in their pursuit of said AIGFP employees that AIG would need to pay those AIGFP folks million-plus retention bonuses to get them to stay -- is so ludicrous it almost defies comment.