Newsday – A tough-talking President Barack Obama moved yesterday to block the $165 million in bonuses for American International Group executives that prompted a new wave of outrage at corporate America and taxpayer bailouts.
Despite the aggressive approach, it’s unclear whether he can get the payments back. But the White House said it would modify the terms of AIG’s pending $30-billion bailout installment to at least recoup the $165 million the bonuses represent. That wouldn’t rescind the bonuses, just require AIG to account for them differently.
Separately, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said he will subpoena the names of AIG officials involved and copies of their employment contracts to determine whether the bonuses are legal, given the firm’s weak finances.
Manhattan-based AIG was saved from insolvency by $170 billion in taxpayer-backed loans – and reported a $61.7-billion loss in the fourth quarter last year. It revealed on the weekend that it used more than $90 billion in its federal aid to pay out banks, some of which had received their own U.S. government bailouts.