Want to know what an insurance company does with a brand-new bailout check of $150 billion in taxpayer money? Throw a big party, of course! AIG execs only had one rule for their big shindig in Phoenix this week — don’t mention the name AIG:
In addition to the nearly 150 independent financial planners in Phoenix for training and education, the conference attendee list was a Who’s Who of AIG leaders, including Larry Roth, President & CEO, AIG Advisor Group; Art Tambaro, President & CEO, Royal Alliance Associates; Mark Schlafly, President & CEO, FSC Securities; Gary Bender, Senior Vice President, Investment Advisory Services; Bruce Levitus, Senior Vice President, Investment Advisory Services; and Stuart Rogers, Senior Vice President.
The ABC15 Investigators went undercover at the resort and found AIG executives having poolside meetings while drinking coffee and working out at the spa while other attendees were in conference rooms for seminars.
We also watched as half a dozen of the executives went to dinner at McCormick & Schmick’s at the Camelback Esplanade, racking up a bill of more than $400 for drinks, appetizers, and meals.
AIG execs did cut back on the splashy seminar. They cut Terry Bradshaw from the agenda. Bradshaw, one of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks and a four-time Super Bowl winner, gets $40,000 per appearance as a motivational speaker. Maybe Congress ought to pay Bradshaw the money instead, to motivate themselves into cutting off bailout money to hearty partiers like AIG.
Actually, AIG told ABC that Bradshaw’s fee would come from product sponsors. They also claimed that all but $23,000 of the $343,000 bill would get underwritten by sponsors. If that’s true, then why cancel Bradshaw at the last minute? And if that’s true, then why all of the anonymity?
A hotel employee told ABC15, “We can’t even say the word [AIG].”
Sounds like AIG knew it had something to hide.
If we’re footing the bill for this company’s management failures, then we should be seeing them cut costs to the bone. That means training gets done in the most efficient way possible, and not through costly junkets at resort hotels like Squaw Peak. Having lived in Phoenix, I know that is a high-end destination. If they have to travel at all, let them stay at Days Inn, or some other less expensive digs.
These execs came to taxpayers, hat in hand, demanding assistance. It doesn’t appear that AIG needs any. When they start acting like they’re bankrupt, I’ll believe them.