AIG decides not to sue the government

The company's board considered joining the shareholder lawsuit Wednesday but backed away under intense public criticism.

By Kim Peterson Jan 9, 2013 5:31PM
Image: Laws (© Photodisc Green/Getty Images)American International Group (AIG) is not going to sue the government after all.

The company outraged just about everyone this week when news emerged that it may join a shareholder lawsuit against the U.S. government. Shareholders are angry about how the government handled the $182 million AIG bailout -- the same bailout that saved AIG's skin.

AIG is so grateful for the help, in fact, that it's running a national advertising campaign called "Thank you America." So the idea that it might sue the government over the very same bailout caused jaws to drop in Washington and beyond.

The former inspector general for the Wall Street bailout, Neil Barofsky, said joining the lawsuit would be a "giant middle finger to the taxpayer," according to Politico. A Vermont congressman told the company to "don't even think about it," the Associated Press reports.

Some observers expected that AIG wouldn't join the lawsuit. It was just too ludicrous to imagine. But the company had at least a duty to shareholders to entertain the idea -- and that's what reportedly happened Wednesday when the board of directors met to discuss the issue.

AIG's chairman, Robert Miller, thanked taxpayers again Wednesday when he announced the board's decision. "America invested in 62,000 AIG employees, and we kept our promise to rebuild this great company, repay every dollar America invested in us, and deliver a profit to those who put their trust in us," he said in a statement. "To date, AIG has returned $205 billion to America, including a profit of $22.7 billion. We continue to thank America for its support."

So the company's former CEO, Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, is now on his own. Greenberg filed a $25 billion lawsuit last year against the government claiming that the bailout violated the constitutional rights of shareholders.

The 87-year-old Greenberg, through his asset management company Starr International, owned 12% of AIG before the bailout. He's particularly upset with the way the government swapped a block of preferred stock for 562.9 million common shares. Greenberg also didn't like the 14.5% interest rate the government charged on its loans to AIG.

AIG's decision Wednesday is not going to make Greenberg happy. In fact, he might turn on AIG in what NBC News describes as "a fresh legal fight between Greenberg and the company."

The U.S. government must still deal with Greenberg, but it has now closed the chapter on AIG. The Treasury sold its remaining stake in the company last month, and taxpayers have earned a $22.7 billion profit on the bailout.

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18Comments
Jan 9, 2013 6:33PM
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I don't remember seeing anything in the Constitution about the rights of greedy corporations to government bailouts.  You should be thanking the taxpayers that your stock isn't WORTHLESS you greedy SOB!  You were probably the one that got the company in trouble to begin with.

Jan 9, 2013 6:12PM
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Yeah..that's the thanks we get from 'Greenberg'...up yours schmuck...
Jan 9, 2013 5:53PM
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When do we get our cut of the profits.
Jan 9, 2013 6:14PM
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Sounds like "Hank" needs to spanked 25 billion times!
Jan 9, 2013 7:35PM
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OMG I can't even believe they had to meet about it. Corporate greed is KILLING this country and no one cares. NO ONE needs to earn millions to run a company. And in the meantime, no raises are given to the people doing the real work.

And to add further insult, they get tax breaks to send their business overseas and put us out of work. Well wake up corporate america because the middle class is very quickly becoming the working poor and pretty soon won't be able to afford your outrageously high prices for your goods and services and you will go out of business!!!! IDIOTS!!!!!!!

If Congress and the President cared anything about this country's middle class (and they should because we not only finance all their "social programs" but also their retirement and health care - ps, much better than anything we can get) they would put a stop to the tax breaks corporations get from outsourcing jobs.

Jan 9, 2013 8:01PM
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Ungrateful, greedy S.O.B., AIG will become one of the most hated companies in the U.S.
Jan 9, 2013 7:05PM
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Proofread the article please. How does a $182 Million bailout get a $205 Billion payback? Yes, I know, the numbers are so huge it just boggles the mind. But you are supposed to be professional journalists, so spell like one.
Jan 9, 2013 6:29PM
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F*** AIG, Didn't want to bail you out, was forced to bail you out and now I just hope you all go horribly bankrupt, lose all your homes and all your saving and retirements because that's what you doing to us. THE PEOPLE OF THE US SHOULD SUE AIG FOR STEALING OUR MONEY OR DEMAND IT BE RETURNED OR IF ALL ELSE FAILS BURN IT TO THE GROUND!!!
Jan 9, 2013 8:54PM
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People like Greenberg is much of what is wrong with this country.  Perhaps the American tax payers should file a class action counter law suite against Greenberg and his cohorts in this suite for damages his company (under his tenure) has caused to the nation in what lead to them being bailed out in the first place.  We're left with the debt and the aftermath, as they up and gave the bonuses.

 

Greenberg, from the bottom of my heart, go to hell you bastard.

Jan 10, 2013 12:31PM
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Corporate greed is KILLING this country and no one cares. NO ONE needs to earn millions to run a company.

SassyGirl back when bush was in office, you'd be called anti-capitalist! But your right and these GREEDY people would be wrong to call you that now ( but the GOP would call you that) You know those are the people who want de-regulation so more of this could happen. Like it did when Bush was in. I'm reminded of a line from "The Great Gatsby", Daisy telling Gatsby that the "rich were different". Yeah no f*^king sh*t, Daisy......
Jan 10, 2013 10:35AM
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Maybe there are only two type's of scum or slime....?

 

Greedy Corporations......AND

 

Greedy Old Men....

Jan 9, 2013 8:42PM
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While AIG was accepting taxpayer bailouts the Manchester United Football team had AIG plastered on their jumpers. I'm sure Manchester United [the Glazer Brothers] were happy to accept that edorsement money. Oh wait a minute the Glazer brothers [Tampa Bay Buccanners] were BIG contributors to the Obama reelection campaign.

Follow the money!

Now they won't sue the government.

Well isn't that white errr.. BIG of them.

Everyone of those blood sucking maggots should have been removed from Mahogany row, thrown in Marion prison, and dragged out when they were no longer a burden upon society.

Jan 9, 2013 8:41PM
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Where did the 22.7 Billion go? Over the fiscal cliff?
Jan 11, 2013 11:29AM
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AIG Group has always been an extremely greedy, selfish exploitive business operation. Except for business people who have had dealings with them, most of the general public is unaware of their greedy unethical and barely legal business practices which enabled them to grow and amass huge profits. The regulators didn't intervene feeling that AIG was performing and providing a market for products unavailable in the normal market and filling a public need. Hence, AIG operated with almost complete immunity with outrageous prices and practices with little or no oversight. A thorough and detailed investigation would  produce more than adequate evidence to put Hank and his cohorts in jail. There is more than adequate evidence to indict on "restraint of trade" practices alone.

 

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