(HH here: nothing to say, I am too busyt being sick to my stomach!)
By Maureen Dowd Published: February 25, 2009
LOS ANGELES: Talk about being teed off.
The economy is croaking and bankers are still partying at a golf tournament here on our dime.
It’s a good argument for nationalization, or better yet, internationalization. Outsource the jobs of these perfidious, oblivious bank executives to Bangalore; Bollywood bashes have to cost less than Hollywood ones.
The entertainment Web site TMZ broke the story Tuesday that Northern Trust of Chicago, which got $1.5 billion in bailout money and then laid off 450 workers, flew hundreds of clients and employees to Los Angeles last week and treated them to four days of posh hotel rooms, salmon and filet mignon dinners, music concerts, a PGA golf tournament at the Riviera Country Club with Mercedes shuttle rides and Tiffany swag bags.
“A rep from the PGA told us Northern Trust wrote one big, fat check in order to sponsor the event,” TMZ reported.
Northern No Trust had a lavish dinner at the Ritz Carlton on Wednesday with a concert by Chicago (at a $100,000 fee); rented a private hangar at the Santa Monica Airport on Thursday for another big dinner with a gig by Earth, Wind & Fire, and closed down the House of Blues on Sunset Strip on Saturday (at a cost of $50,000) for a dinner and serenade by Sheryl Crow.
In what is now an established idiotic ritual of rationalization, the bank put out a letter noting that it “did not seek the government’s investment” even though it took it, …
The bank cloaks itself in a philanthropic glow while wasting our money, acting like the American Cancer Society when in fact it’s a cancer on American society.
It asserted that it earned an operating net income of $641 million last year and acted as though it did Americans a favor by taking federal cash.
I would ask Northern No Trust: If you’re totally solvent, why are you taking my tax dollars? If you’re not totally solvent, why are you giving my tax dollars to Sheryl Crow?
President Barack Obama served them notice on Tuesday night in his congressional address, saying: “This time, CEOs won’t be able to use taxpayer money to pad their paychecks or buy fancy drapes or disappear on a private jet. Those days are over.”
John “Antique Commode” Thain had to be ordered by a judge to tell New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s investigators which Merrill Lynch employees got those $3.6 billion in bonuses that Thain illicitly shoved through as his firm was failing and being taken over by Bank of America with the help of a $45 billion bailout. Kenneth Lewis, the Bank of America CEO, made the absurd assertion to Congress that his bank had “no authority” to stop the bonuses, even though he knew about them beforehand.
“They find out they’re $7 billion off on the estimate of losses for the fourth quarter and they never think maybe we should go back and adjust these bonuses?” Cuomo told me, as Thain was finally responding to investigators on Tuesday at the New York attorney general’s office.
“He refused to answer questions on the basis that ‘the Bank of America didn’t want me to.’ You can take the Fifth Amendment or you can answer questions. But there’s no Bank of America privilege. The Bank of America doesn’t substitute for the Constitution. And who’s the Bank of America, by the way?”
Read the whole thing, click the title of the post.