AIG Ducks Joining Maurice Greenberg's Greedy Lawsuit

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Mr. Greenberg is reportedly still a major shareholder in AIG and is super rich; but the greed of some folks is beyond belief.

[Speaking Truth To Power]

Fleecing of America...

Bailed-out insurance giant AIG declined to participate in a $25 billion lawsuit it was considering joining that was filed against the U.S. Government by their former CEO Maurice R. Greenberg.

Given the high crimes perpetrated against the American people by companies like AIG, and individuals like Mr. Greenberg, shouldn’t our government be the ones hauling these offenders into court?

On Wednesday AIG board members met with Mr. Greenberg—who is still a major shareholder in the company—to decide whether they would join him in a shareholder’s lawsuit he launched against the federal government. That suit, started in 2011, has been filed in courts in New York and Washington D.C. and stems from terms agreed upon by the government and AIG when it received bailout money to save the company from collapse.

AIG, which is running an ad campaign entitled “Thank you America,” recently paid back $182 billion in bailout money that was given to it by the American government to save the multinational insurance agency during the developing Wall Street financial crisis in 2008.

Mr. Greenberg, who ran AIG for four decades before resigning in scandal in 2005, delivered a 45-minute presentation to the AIG board. But AIG decided against joining the lawsuit launched by Mr. Greenberg—through his Starr International.

Mr. Greenberg claims the rescue package AIG and the government agreed on to save the company was too burdensome on AIG shareholders.

According to Mr. Greenberg, the government’s taking of a 92 percent equity stake of AIG, the agreement’s high interest rates and the delivering of billions of dollars to the company’s Wall Street clients was unfair to AIG stockholders. The lawsuit also claims the agreement violated the Fifth Amendment, which forbids taking personal property for “public use, without just compensation.”

Reportedly, AIG’s board did not give a stated reason for their decision to decline joining the lawsuit.

The board has said it will reveal its reasons for not joining the suit in upcoming court filings. However, their choice to consider joining the lawsuit has led to a ferocious backlash by the public and in Washington. Some politicians like Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, voiced outrage about AIG even considering joining this lawsuit.

"Beginning in 2008, the federal government poured billions of dollars into AIG to save it from bankruptcy," she said. "AIG's reckless bets nearly crashed our entire economy. Taxpayers across this country saved AIG from ruin, and it would be outrageous for this company to turn around and sue the federal government because they think the deal wasn't generous enough," Warren said. "Even today, the government provides an ongoing, stealth bailout, propping up AIG with special tax breaks -- tax breaks that Congress should stop. AIG should thank American taxpayers for their help, not bite the hand that fed them for helping them out in a crisis."

AIG’s deliberation of whether to join this lawsuit is illustrative of why Wall Street’s corrupt con artists and executives should’ve been dragged into court for their fraudulently irresponsible conduct, which tanked the economy. The full weight of the American government should’ve been leveraged to prosecute and crucify these crooks—and if Capitol Hill wasn’t so corrupted by the big money of these swindlers that would’ve happened.

If Washington was really invested in the people’s interests these human vultures would’ve been tarred and feathered to set the example that this kind of thievery will not be tolerated. Instead, Washington protects these ruthless scoundrels.

AIG was a key player in the massive financial fraud that was perpetrated against the American people. Mr. Greenberg, when he was AIG’s CEO, oversaw the company when he was being investigated by then Attorney General Eliot Spitzer for a variety of alleged criminal activities including: insurance violations, securities fraud, fraudulent business practices, and other violations.

Ironically Mr. Spitzer, the one politician who was zealously trying to police Wall Street and uproot their rotten foundation, was neutralized when his sexual proclivities for prostitutes became publicized and he was forced out as New York’s governor—with the probable instigation of Wall Street.

Mr. Greenberg, and others like him on Wall Street, would’ve already been fitted for prison-issued suits, if Washington really represented the political and democratic will of the people. Why do these government leaders find it so politically problematic to represent the economic interests of average Americans? Pretentious politicians continually lecture about America being “a nation of laws.” So, why has Wall Street been given carte blanche in breaking the law?

It‘s indeed a strange universe when Washington makes excuses for Wall Street excesses while they’re willing to wage war on working Americans like their current pitch about engaging in “entitlement reforms.” What about really reforming Wall Street? Instead of that we have charlatans, like Mr. Greenberg, who’ve not only been allowed to maintain their freedom but are busy concocting new schemes that could further fleece the American taxpayer.

How could AIG really consider joining this suit after taxpayer largess saved their company from the fate suffered by Lehman Brothers? Mr. Greenberg is reportedly still a major shareholder in AIG and is super rich; but the greed of some folks is beyond belief. The company’s assessment not to join the suit seems to have been made because of the negative public relations backlash—instead, of the fact that to do so is ungrateful and immoral.

Will AIG secretly support this suit?

Besides saving the company from obliteration, the AIG bailout allowed these fat cats to go on an expensive junket shortly after the first installment of the bailout was given. Then, the next year they were back to giving themselves large bonuses. Now, they have the audacity to deliberate about the pros and cons of suing the American taxpayer—while, running this “Thank you, America” advertisement?

Unfortunately, these “too big to fail” institutions seem to believe the people’s money is theirs. For example, during the bailouts Washington told us we needed to give banks taxpayer money so they could start loaning money to those in need. Instead many of these banks took the money and refused to loan money to the very people whose taxes underwrote their bailouts.

The final irony here is: in Mr. Greenberg’s suit he is apparently claiming the government violated the Fifth Amendment rights of AIG’ shareholders by taking private property for “public use, without just compensation.” This argument is the height of chutzpah coming from people like Mr. Greenberg who made money from duping clients of their hard earned money. These bandits robbed people of their life and retirement savings and destroyed the futures of many in the process.

The failure of the federal government to prosecute anyone for the largest theft in history was proof positive American democracy is a shaky proposition that often ignores the interests of regular people in favor of economic elites. Ironically, if Mr. Greenberg pursues this suit it would give Washington a chance to put someone who embodies the excesses of Wall Street on trial.


"Speaking Truth To Empower."




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