Bank under fire for lavish SoCal weekend

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. /*Northern Trust Bank*/ was the title sponsor of this past weekend's Northern Trust Open, at Riviera Country Club, in Pacific Palisades.

The Chicago-based bank reportedly flew in hundreds of employees and clients for a week of corporate parties that included private musical acts by the band Chicago and singer Sheryl Crow.

"This bank and some of these other banks just got billions and billions of dollars of taxpayer money, of course they're going to hold a party, wouldn't you?" said Doug Heller, of ConsumerWatchdog.org.

Some lawmakers in Washington, D.C. are incensed, and want the federal funds returned.

Representative Barney Frank wrote the bank a letter saying, "We insist that you immediately return to the federal government the equivalent of what Northern Trust frittered away on these lavish events."

In a statement, the bank said, "Northern Trust did not seek the government's investment, but agreed to the government's goal of gaining the participation of all major banks in the United States."

Democratic Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts is proposing legislation that would restrict banks that received government funds from using the money for conferences or entertainment events.

"These banks who are sitting there with billions of dollars basically in free money from the taxpayers are still charging us 19, even 29 percent on our credit cards. I mean, they have no constraints whatsoever," said Heller.

TMZ provided some of the video in Carlos Granda's piece.


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