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Expensive AIG retreat post-bailout rankles

October 7, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
While the government works to shore up the economy, Congress is investigating how we got into this mess. Tuesday, lawmakers questioned AIG officials about spending $443,344 on an executive spa retreat at a posh Southern California resort, just a week after the company got an $85-billion bailout. The St. Regis Monarch Bay Resort overlooks the Pacific Ocean. It is considered to be one of the more exclusive resorts in the country.

At a congressional hearing 3,000 miles away in Washington, D.C., AIG executives were grilled over spending $443,344 for a weeklong conference at the resort just days after the federal government approved an $85-billion bailout.

"While average Americans are suffering economically, they are losing their jobs, their homes and their health insurance," said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles). "Yet less than one week after the taxpayers rescued AIG, company executives could be found wining and dining at one of the most exclusive resorts in the nation."

Of the $434,344 spent at the resort, $147,000 was spent on banquets; $139,000 was spent on rooms; $23,000 on spa treatments; and $7,000 on golf fees.

Eyewitness News talked to people in the area.

"I want them all fired," said Dana Point resident Paula Hunt. "It's just a slap in the face. And I've been laid off, so it's just wrong."

"I think it's wrong. I think we should not have bailed anybody out. I think Americans should go back to basics," said San Juan Capistrano resident Ruth Sizemore. "And forget the plastic."

"Well I think that's ridiculous what's going on with all these executives, because we're footing the bill, no matter what they do, with all the people they've let go, the people that have all the money up at the top, unlike you and I, they're the ones that are sitting pretty, and we aren't, we're going to have to pay that somewhere, and perhaps our children," said Irvine resident Jim Gough. "Someone's going to inherit all that to pay."

Included in that weeklong retreat: a $5,000 bar tab; gratuities added up to about $3,000.

The FBI has announced that since March, the bureau has been investigating AIG's finances.

 

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