Mr. DeSantis Quits

In a much discussed public letter to AIG, a Mr. Jake DeSantis has resigned from AIG. I do not know the particulars of Mr. DeSantis' situation, but I am familiar with the fact that AIG was effectively bankrupt in September 2008. To wit, his hard work to that date would have gone uncompensated because of the failure of the company he worked for. Mr. DeSantis is claiming he would have moved on to greener pastures absent assurances from Ed Liddy, the acting AIG CEO:

. . . A.I.G. management assured us on three occasions during that month that the company would “live up to its commitment” to honor the contract guarantees. . . At no time during the past six months that you have been leading A.I.G. did you ask us to revise, renegotiate or break these contracts — until several hours before your appearance last week before Congress. . . . We have worked 12 long months under these contracts and now deserve to be paid as promised. . . .

[MORE . . .]

. . . Many of the employees have, in the past six months, turned down job offers from more stable employers, based on A.I.G.’s assurances that the contracts would be honored. They are now angry about having been misled by A.I.G.’s promises and are not inclined to return the money as a favor to you.

It seems to me Mr. DeSantis' grievance is with Liddy, not anyone else. It was Liddy that made representations to him and other AIG employees. Mr. DeSantis really can have no grievance with the federal government -- after all, if it were not for the government bailout of AIG, Mr. DeSantis would have no bonus to give to his favorite charities.

No one likes to be demonized of course, and in that sense, Mr. DeSantis' reaction is understandable. But I think he should reconsider whether his emotional response was one he would have wanted turned into a public letter published in the New York Times. It smacks of an attitude of entitlement that ill befits someone whose bonus came from the public dole.

Speaking for me only

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    Hard for me (5.00 / 9) (#1)
    by NYShooter on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:22:25 PM EST
    to feel sorry for a gentleman whose one bonus check is greater than many people's income for a decade.

    I read the letter earlier today and (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:37:19 PM EST
    basically thought that he should have taken a salary.

    On top of that, the letter basically reveals that the $1 salaries they agreed to were nothing more than a PR stunt.  Of course you'll agree to take a $1 salary if you are promised a "retention bonus" which is a salary after the fact.


    A PR stunt and . . . (5.00 / 4) (#36)
    by Cream City on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:46:49 PM EST
    tax lawyers here can tell us whether this was an attempt to evade some taxes.  Are bonuses taxed the same as salaries?  

    I mean, these guys don't set up such contracts so as to pay MORE taxes, on that I would bet more than a buck.  But not much more . . . yeh, like others here, I'm gonna go look at my SS statement and see if I have made this much en toto in all my working years, more than half a century now since that first job at $1.10 an hour, as I recall.  And yeh, I sure won't be making that much en toto in the next 10 years, with no raises at all for years to come now, as my employer -- the largest in my state -- already has announced.

    Life is just unfair all over, AI-IOU.


    The last time I got a bonus - (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:57:26 PM EST
    years ago when I worked for a company - the bonus was taxed at a higher rate.  I haven't a clue what the tax structure is now (aside from the bill the House passed last week).

    But the main reason I though this guy should have asked for a salary is that bonuses are as I found out very political actually.  I made all my numbers one year in accordance with the bonus scale - which was essentially a profit-sharing mechanism - which was supposed to yield me "x" but the manager I was working for conveniently adjusted my status on certain projects after the fact so as to minimize my bonus.  It was a way for him to keep from having to payout on all the profits - very clever.  Anyhow, since then any bonus money I've been offered has been viewed as essentially make-believe and the salary was the focus as it was not subject to such manipulations.  Which is why my first response in reading the letter was that if the guy wanted to get paid, I thought he should have opted for a salary rather than engaging in this bonus deal.


    Unfair? (none / 0) (#38)
    by squeaky on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:51:42 PM EST
    You are the one who chose to go into teaching rather than banking. I am sure you made that choice with your eyes wide open, or would you rather have chosen the banking life?



    taxes (none / 0) (#40)
    by DFLer on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:53:34 PM EST
    Are bonuses taxed the same as salaries?

    well, yes...all part of total income, right?


    Well, I know that some income (none / 0) (#44)
    by Cream City on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:58:31 PM EST
    is taxed differently, from a family member who does taxes and told us about some of the stuff he has seen.  CEOs not having to pay taxes at all, etc. -- as bonuses do not always come in outright cash but in stock packages and such.  

    Do you know for sure about the AIG bonuses, that all are fully taxable -- or just guessing?


    Bonuses are taxed at a higher rate than salary. (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by ChiTownDenny on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:08:04 PM EST
    However, this is for withholding purposes.  Annual adjusted gross income includes, salary, bonuses, dividends, capital gains (losses), etc.

    Cash vs Stock Option Bonuses... (none / 0) (#57)
    by santarita on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:30:16 PM EST
    Cash bonuses are treated as part of your salary.  There are timing issues with stock options but ultimately they are taxed.  There are ways of putting bonuses in trusts that don't necessarily avoid taxes but can space out the taxable impact over a number of years.  (Not the definitive answer because I'm not a tax attorney - but I believe this is in the ballpark.)

    Ah, that makes more sense (none / 0) (#62)
    by Cream City on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:41:03 PM EST
    than a top financial adviser type setting himself up for a higher tax rate.  Yeh, right.

    Cash bonuses are taxed (none / 0) (#84)
    by BernieO on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 08:24:42 AM EST
    as ordinary income. Bonuses paid as stock options are not taxed until the option is excercised then they are taxed as ordinary income. (I am visiting my CPA brother so I asked him to make sure.)

    Yeah, he never says he actually worked (none / 0) (#18)
    by nycstray on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:53:35 PM EST
    for a dollar. The contracts were a year old. If he did actually work for a dollar, that would have been a more recent change, right?

    I seem to remember that he said (none / 0) (#20)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:58:33 PM EST
    that he had agreed to take the $1 salary.


    Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid.

    Within the first few paragraphs of the letter.


    I concur with your sentiment wholeheartedly. (4.83 / 6) (#3)
    by scribe on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:27:19 PM EST
    I suspect that if I were to undertake the depressing task of adding up all the money I have ever earned, even after adjusting for inflation, I still would have earned less than that whiner got as a bonus for his hard, hard work.

    Shoot, it might even be less than his base salary.

    And I've been a lawyer going on 20 years and worked at other full-time jobs for nearly a decade before that.

    Mr. DeSantis, Welfare King, can kiss my a*s.


    Base salary (none / 0) (#4)
    by CST on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:35:09 PM EST
    I believe was $1 this last year.

    Other than that, I agree with the sentiment.


    How much was it the previous years? (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:36:21 PM EST
    And how much were his bonuses then?

    He opened the door for discovery, didn't he?

    Lawyers, let me know...


    not trying to defend (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by CST on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:38:01 PM EST
    just pointing out that scribe has probably made more than $1 over his/her lifetime.

    at least I hope so.


    I meant mr. whiny crybaby, (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:42:17 PM EST
    sorry if it seemed it was directed at anyone posting here.

    doubtless (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by wystler on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:45:57 PM EST
    ... about the $1 for the last year.

    But if he wants sympathy, he'd best be willing to spread his last 5 years earnings.

    And that loss on deferred compensation? My 401K ain't exactly looking robust.


    yours either? (none / 0) (#14)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:47:12 PM EST
    Wow, wonder what happened...

    Yes, I have (5.00 / 6) (#27)
    by scribe on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:13:13 PM EST
    made more than $1 for my entire lifetime.

    It just doesn't feel that way.

    Consider the poor, benighted Mr. DeSantis.  According to what I've been able to dig out, he lives in Redding, Connecticut.  That's a town about halfway between Westport and Waterbury.  If you go to google satellite, you'll see it's very green and leafy.

    As of the census of 2000, there were 8,270 people, 2,918 households, and 2,377 families residing in the town. The population density was 262.5 people per square mile (101.4/km²). There were 3,086 housing units at an average density of 98.0/sq mi (37.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town as of 2000 was 96.20% White, 0.70% African American, 0.10% Native American, 1.80% Asian, 0.80% from other races or from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.50% of the population.

    Redding is rural compared to the towns along the Golden Coast. Although Redding boasts the wealth that is identified with Fairfield County, it is a more secluded option for home ownership. As such, real estate prices have remained at a premium for the last couple years.

    Nice to know his house has not lost too much value....

    Larry Kudlow (from TV) is a townsman.  I wonder if he gets stories from Mr. DeSantis at the coffee place....  Dick Morris, too.  And Meat Loaf.   Barry Levinson.  Alfred Winslow Jones, called "the father of the hedge fund industry," lived on Poverty Hollow Road.  Nice juxtaposition, that.

    The scoop of Redding is that the median income is over $100k per capita, per year.

    Poor people don't get to stay.

    DeSantis can still kiss my a*s.  Start from the left and work to the right, OK?


    Neatloaf! That settles it (none / 0) (#49)
    by oculus on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:04:53 PM EST
    Presumably from September (none / 0) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:03:34 PM EST
    Agreed (none / 0) (#10)
    by Pianobuff on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:40:52 PM EST
    The best thing that could happen is they all do what he did and quit tomorrow.  I don't feel sorry for them.  They should all resign immediately, the clods...

    Cry me a river (5.00 / 6) (#2)
    by CST on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:24:55 PM EST
    I had a co-worker who turned down another job because she thought she'd get a better deal at her current company - with "assurances" from our company that she would.

    A few months later she was laid off.  That's life.  And she didn't have a multi-million dollar nest egg.

    What a whiny baby. (5.00 / 8) (#5)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:35:16 PM EST
    an open letter to Mr. De Santis:


    I for one, have no sympathy for you.

    First, your company went under. It doesn't matter that your division turned a profit.

    There are plenty of people on the job market who don't have the option of resigning. They have already been laid off.

    I have no doubt you are sincere in your gripes, but your lack of understanding of the public outrage at your company's bonuses, and your petulant attitude do NOT help your case.

    So hush. Live on the bonuses you made while playing a game that, while legal, seems to be unethical to the majority of the population.



    Burning bridges (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by BarnBabe on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:38:02 PM EST
    We will have to follow his career path going forward. I don't know if I would be in a hurry to hire someone who lambastes his boss in the NYTimes. Maybe this is why AIG went downhill. A lot of people worrying over their bonus vs watching what was going on. A bonus for poor performance. Hmmm.

    Why wait for resignations (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Pianobuff on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:51:00 PM EST
    They should just fire the whole unit.  We'd be better off and could stop dwelling on these bonuses and move on.  

    Isn't that one of the golden rules for job (5.00 / 4) (#17)
    by nycstray on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:51:01 PM EST
    interviews, never trash your former employer/workplace?! And in print or online, lol!~ Who'd a thunk it?

    I learned a long time ago (none / 0) (#19)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:56:02 PM EST
    Leave them with compliments. They may not remember, but the WILL remember if you leave them with a scorched earth plan.

    I've seen it happen, too. "Remember so-and-so? S/he needs a rec."

    "Yeah. might as well give a good one."


    "Do you believe that so and so actually listed us as a previous empoyer? S/he should have forgotten about those 18 months! Boy, do I have a lot to tell that person calling..."


    I've held my tongue so many times (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by nycstray on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:03:58 PM EST
    it's nuts! I went to one exit interview and they were actually shocked I had nothing to say regarding my boss/the position, lol!~ That was pretty d@mn funny {grin} But, boy, they sure do like me still. It is a major company that has far reaching arms in my field. I'm no fool  ;)

    I do have to give him props for donating his money (for whatever reason). Hopefully some food banks will get some much needed cash. Maybe some of the other losers will follow suit . . .


    Yeh, Liddy will not be listed (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by Cream City on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:48:54 PM EST
    as a reference on Mr. DeSantis' resume.

    Of course, as we keep trying to tell students, employers don't just check the references they list.  And these days, they check by googling, too.  So DeSantis doesn't even need to worry about what might show up on his Facebook page.  He's ending up on front pages all over the place.


    you just inspired me (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by CST on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:58:25 PM EST
    to google myself (that sounds way dirtier than it is).

    Apparently someone with my name (first and last) has written an article for High Times.

    I swear it wasn't me...

    Although I am still #1, 2, and 3 on google - not a very common name.  Luckily it's all kosher - facebook's public profile, linkedin, and an old environmental initiative I worked on a few years back.


    Too bad.... (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:16:59 PM EST
    CST, I was ready to raise your blog cred rating from superb to off the charts if you were published in High Times:)

    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by CST on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:39:32 PM EST
    Yea, I'm not that cool... and my writing isn't that good.

    It sure would win me brownie points (pun intended) with my friends, although I'm not sure how well it would go over at work.


    Mine shows up on (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by BarnBabe on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 10:45:03 PM EST
    Huffington Post on the Political Donation list. My gal is Sec of State now. Heh. They didn't list anyone else. Guess she got the most $$.  

    I had a similar weird experience (none / 0) (#48)
    by Cream City on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:04:37 PM EST
    googling my name a while ago, after telling my kids to doublecheck what comes up about them -- and I found an author with my name, and it is a very unusual name.  I tracked down more info, and it was fascinating to discover the story of this elderly nun off in some isolated tiny convent who, in her later years, had a volume of poetry published.  I even found it on an out-of-print book site and got myself a copy for a few bucks, for fun.  

    But I also found out that she had died a few years ago, so I missed the chance to send a fun fan letter -- to and from the same name. :-)


    Yes (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by squeaky on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:44:11 PM EST
    Seems like he would have been better served if he did not disclose that he was working for AIG or collecting a $750,000 bonus.

    Although, the letter writer to WaPo did not disclose his affiliation with AIG and it did not help, once he was outed that is. Wonder if he is shilling for poor Mr DeSantis. Digby nails this type of petulance with the term corporate narcissism. Worth a read.

    The Washington Post published an op-ed today by Martin Feldstein. Feldstein explains how Obama's proposed limitation on the deductibility of charitable contributions by upper-income taxpayers is a horrible idea. He's identified as "an economics professor at Harvard University [and] president emeritus of the National Bureau of Economic Research."

    One affiliation the Post left out is that Martin Feldstein is a longtime member of AIG's Board of Directors. He's also a member of the board's Finance Committee.

    Come on, ladies and gents, have (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by dk on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:59:56 PM EST
    more sympathy for the guy.  Be more like our president.

    House lawmakers are softening their stance on denying bonuses to employees of bailed-out financial institutions after President Barack Obama warned them against alienating the industry.

    Wouldn't want to alienate poor Mr. DeSantis, would we?

    I'd like to pour boxes of salt (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:01:43 PM EST
    on his doubtless well-manicured lawn.

    Well-manicured by people making close to minimum wage.


    more like less than min. wage (none / 0) (#75)
    by jussumbody on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 09:26:43 PM EST
    And why all the hate for lawn slugs?  Pour your salt in his bed.

    Barney Frank is On Board (none / 0) (#32)
    by squeaky on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:29:03 PM EST
    Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the Financial Services Committee, said this latest bill would exempt firms who agree to partner with government to buy the toxic assets because "we do want to encourage wide participation" in the program.

    Do you think that if Obama had continued demanding that AIG forgo their bonuses that the Senate would pass a bill taxing 90% of all bonuses?

    I don't, even if you and the AP reporter you link to believes it. And if it is true that Obama has a magic congressional wand now, we can assume that the congresscritters will pass UHC, HOLC, Obama's budget proposal, and that the fat cat congresscritters will all of a sudden come to their senses regarding out of control military procurement spending.

    And BTW, you, and the AP reporter left out the context of Obama's remark:

    You know, there was a lot of outrage and finger-pointing last week, and much of it is understandable. I'm as angry as anybody about those bonuses that went to some of the very same individuals who brought our financial system to its knees, partly because it's yet another symptom of the culture that led us to this point.


    Bankers and executives on Wall Street need to realize that enriching themselves on the taxpayers' dime is inexcusable, that the days of outsized rewards and reckless speculation that puts us all at risk have to be over.

    At the same time, the rest of us can't afford to demonize every investor or entrepreneur who seeks to make a profit. That drive is what has always fueled our prosperity, and it is what will ultimately get these banks lending and our economy moving once more.

    Not sure what the (none / 0) (#87)
    by dk on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 10:09:35 AM EST
    "context" quote provides other than further evidence that Obama doesn't want us to alienate the DeSantis' of the world.  And I don't really see what preventing government bailout money to go to executive bonuses has to do with "demoniz[ing] every investor or entrepreneur who seeks to make a profit."  

    And given that Obama has never supported HOLC, nor has he supported policies that would create UHC, I'm not sure what that part of your comment even means.  


    I Didn't See His Letter as Whining... (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by santarita on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:06:57 PM EST
    so much as explaining how employees at AIG see things.  

    I have little doubt that he will end up with another high paying job somewhere.  

    It is in the taxpayers' best interest that the dismantling of AIG's business units is done in a way that maximizes returns.  In many cases this will require good efforts on the part of employees who have no guarantee of a job once the lights are turned out.  It would be noble of them to work for free despite being vilified.  

    These employees got thrown under the bus by Obama, Geithner and Liddy.  

    I would say that these employees (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:11:47 PM EST
    threw themselves under the bus by working and continuing to work for a company, a transnational corporation, that participated in risky (at best) endeavors.

    A failed corporation that, after raking in millions personally, became the proverbial fatted cow to the employees.

    Remember, he resigned. His petulance and whining are evident.


    If anything, it was (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by dk on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:14:46 PM EST
    Obama, Geithner and Liddy who tried to slip DeSantis his bonus before the media caught on.  And they all almost got away with it.

    AIG Was A Respected Insuror... (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by santarita on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:34:30 PM EST
    before it went crazy with derivatives.  Many employees worked for AIG well before the craziness was permitted by the senior management and board and had nothing to do with it and no control over it.

    Come now (5.00 / 7) (#28)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:14:07 PM EST
    It may be other things as well, but it is certainly whining.

    Ill considered whining to my eyes.


    BTD, I wish I could post a link (none / 0) (#30)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:20:36 PM EST
    to that scene from "The Godfather" in which Don Corleone tells the crooner "You can be a man!"

    seems appropriate advice.


    Do you mean (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by scribe on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:25:35 PM EST
    that's the one! (none / 0) (#35)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:30:37 PM EST
    kind of sexist today, but the sentiment is what i wanted to express.

    I Wouldn't Have Written... (none / 0) (#42)
    by santarita on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:57:45 PM EST
    such a letter.  And I'll concede that it may be partially whining about ill treatment by Liddy.  But I'm glad that he wrote that letter because it highlights one of the real dangers of targeting employees of failed institutions.  I don't think it is in the taxpayer's best interests to alienate employees who are working to maximize our returns.

    The outrage against people like DeSantis is convenient but misplaced.  The government should be going after the senior execs and board of directors at AIG who permitted didn't police AIGFP and didn't set aside enough reserves for the risks that AIG was taking.  


    We have no idea what the presence or absence of Mr. DeSantis at AIG meant or will mean to taxpayers.

    this is the indispensable men theory writ small, if you will.


    VERY small. n/t (5.00 / 3) (#56)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:29:35 PM EST
    Indispensable Person Theory... (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by santarita on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:42:25 PM EST
    to coin a phrase.

    No one is indispensable but without some people some tasks are a lot harder and more costly to accomplish.  I guess I subscribe to  "Hard to Get the Job Done Without This Person Theory".  And you're right that we don't know if DeSantis is telling the truth.  Maybe Liddy, Geithner and Obama can write an op-ed saying that deSantis is wrong and AIG doesn't need those whiny employees.

    I've been through a number of mergers and acquisitions and can tell you that, in my experience,  while no one is indispensable some make the transition and/or winding down a lot easier and more cost effective.


    Think he's the only one (none / 0) (#67)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:59:29 PM EST
    who quit?

    Probably more a few men and .. (none / 0) (#69)
    by santarita on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 07:10:45 PM EST
    women have tendered their resignations.  

    Maybe they'll go to work for the government now.  


    Quote (none / 0) (#72)
    by ding7777 on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 07:30:11 PM EST
    Charles De Gaulle and/or Abe Lincoln  

    The graveyards are full of indispensable men.

    De Gualle (none / 0) (#73)
    by DFLer on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 07:41:28 PM EST
    as per BTD's post via Drum

    Working for free (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by lilburro on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:30:08 PM EST
    seems unsustainable.  Just get government hired people to take over and do the work - not for gobstopping pay, but good pay.  An AIG run by noble martyrs on no pay...eh I don't see it.

    I don't think you'll ... (none / 0) (#71)
    by santarita on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 07:15:09 PM EST
    have to worry about a lot of noble or ignoble martyrs working for AIG.  

    I have a lot of sympathy (5.00 / 4) (#33)
    by KeysDan on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:29:37 PM EST
    and appreciation--for all the TL commenters who were able to read his entire letter.  I had a tough time plowing through it all, and then only with feelings of  embarrassment for the guy, both for his cluelessness and his "take no prisoners" exit.  

    Still hopelessly out of touch... (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:59:06 PM EST
    and brimming with a sense of entitlement...can you read it between the lines too?

    He's right in that AIG owes him his money, seems like he's forgetting AIG is broke.  He's within his rights to sue and get in line with the rest of them holding IOU's from AIG.

    I'll take him at his word that he performed his job well...but that is not enough.  You also need to choose your employer carefully...and I wouldn't go to work for any outfit that would make me wait a year for a check..thats just stupid, and this guy went to MIT?  I guess they don't teach street smarts there:)

    I have to wonder (5.00 / 4) (#63)
    by nycstray on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:41:22 PM EST
    if he was oblivious to what was going on all around him, if he is as innocent in this mess as he says he is. He's been there for 11 yrs, it's not like he's the new kid on the block. Nor did he work in the marketing dept and this financial "stuff" was beyond his grasp . . .

    Innocence or guilt... (none / 0) (#66)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:48:29 PM EST
    is irrelevant I think, I'll take him at his word that he had nothing to do with the shenanigans.

    The bottom line is AIG is broke....maybe the government and Liddy broke a promise to him and the other hotshots, but a promise from the government is no promise at all....empty as empty can get.


    re: Government's promise (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by sj on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 09:54:47 AM EST
    Look for the treaty with Native Americans that was NOT broken by the Government.

    Look for remarks about "entitlement reform".  Making the government keep its promise requires not only vigilance but pressure.  

    Constant pressure.


    I have a feeling that one of the reasons (5.00 / 7) (#47)
    by Anne on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:04:21 PM EST
    DeSantis isn't getting a lot of sympathy is because those of us who live in a little place called "the real world" are well-acquainted with the various unfairnesses of life, and realized a long time ago that much of the world did not consider us entitled to anything: we could certainly argue our cases, but for too many, it was about sucking it up and not whining about how our own compensation never seemed to be commensurate with how hard or how long we worked, or how well we did our jobs.

    Mr. DeSantis may be right to be angry with his employer for leading him down the garden path; I'd be angry if I had worked for nothing on the basis of a promise that more was coming to me.  If it's the principle of the thing, now seems like an odd and ironic time to be acquainting himself with principles, don't you think?

    Welcome to the ranks of the angry, Mr. DeSantis.  Buy, hey - since you still have all the accoutrements of wealth, can we have the meetings at your house(es)?

    Is it even possible.... (5.00 / 6) (#53)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:19:09 PM EST
    to serve foi gras and caviar and call it a pity party?

    If it's not Beluga, sure... (5.00 / 3) (#54)
    by Anne on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:25:19 PM EST
    all the more reason to feel sorry for one's self!

    Sevruga not good enough? (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:28:21 PM EST

    I know the name, but to me, fish eggs are, well, "bait."


    Caviar is definitely one of those (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Anne on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:34:54 PM EST
    foods that one either loves or hates - I think of that scene from "Big" when Tom Hanks' character goes to the Christmas party, takes a big scoop of caviar and not only spits it out, but wipes his tongue off with a napkin...best scene in that movie.

    I'm a caviar lover - special occasions only, though!


    Well, it was his employer who promised (5.00 / 3) (#74)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 08:55:00 PM EST
    him there was more to come. We taxpayers had nothing to do with the promise, and should have no obligation to make good on it.

    bonuses, for tax purposes, (5.00 / 5) (#58)
    by cpinva on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:30:22 PM EST
    are merely glorified salaries, and taxed as such. as "personal service income" of an employee, they are subject to withholding for SS, Medicaid/Medicare, Fed/State wh, etc. the amount appears on ones W-2, and is reported as part of salaries/wages on your 1040.

    apparently, mr. desantis isn't all that bright. had he been reading the papers or listening to something other than rush limbaugh of an evening, he might have noticed the economy, led by such as his employer, had recently imploded.

    my sympathy button for guys like him stopped working a while ago.

    DeSantis is completely full of crap (5.00 / 4) (#78)
    by pluege on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 10:55:05 PM EST
    He is a perfect example of the arrogance of wealth - his slobbing public display of self pity is thoroughly nauseating. He punctuates perfectly the sense of privilege, superiority, and entitlement that the rich feel. He cites 10, 12, 14 hour days as some sort of badge of self-sacrifice completely oblivious to the fact that most Americans work that and more, many 6 and 7 days a week, but without the option to quit because they are unappreciated, having to work day in and day out for their whole lives in uninteresting jobs, barely able to survive, and without the obscenely luxurious option of donating $792,000 dollars because its obviously an insignificant amount to DeSantis - the unmitigated gall of him thinking that we should think highly of him for his effort and for donating money WHICH HE NEVER DESERVED TO HAVE.

    DeSantis writes nothing of AIG or the economy or the terrible trouble America and most Americans are in. He writes 100% a self-serving sop to himself, an ode to the wonders of DeSantis - to hell with him and his kind!!!!.

    Mayby Mr. DeSantis can catch on with... (none / 0) (#15)
    by desertswine on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 04:49:39 PM EST
    Lehman Bros.

    Every day, I seem to find reason to say (none / 0) (#39)
    by Cream City on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 05:52:28 PM EST
    "You could not make this stuff up!"

    And now, career office counselors do not need to make up an example of the sort of letter not to leave with an employer when you leave.  Mr. DeSantis has done the work for them.  Give him another buck for that.

    This title equals (none / 0) (#51)
    by oculus on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:16:06 PM EST
    Calvin Trillin"s "Tepper Isn"t Going Out."

    Attitude of the 1% (none / 0) (#65)
    by Munibond on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:44:52 PM EST
    Assumes rich rewards were earned through profitability in a business characterized by cronyism, collusion, insider trading, opaque pricing, etc.  Had we a functional regulatory system, jobs such as the writer's would never have been so highly paid.

    Unpleasant (Indeed Infuriating) Facts (none / 0) (#68)
    by canuck eh on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 07:07:03 PM EST
    During their appearance yesterday before the Financial Services Committee Mr.'s Bernanke and Geithner explained an important point- there is no law which would give them the authority to take over and/or run AIG. Their only options were to either bail it out or allow it to default.

    After having examined the situation, they decided that it would need to be kept afloat as any act of default on the part of AIG would have caused a massive upheaval, and perhaps a collapse, of the financial system.

    They proceeded to provide AIG with enough capital to meet it's obligations, in full. They did not have the power to go to those that were owed and renegotiate for some percentage on the dollar. If AIG had been unable to pay even $1. that it was obligated to pay out, that would have been considered a default.

    So, Citigroup and Bank of America were paid in full, as per the terms of the binding contracts that they had with AIG; why should the binding contracts of their employees be treated differently?

    As to BTD's argument that they would not have been paid had the Fed not stepped in, neither would Citigroup or Bank of America, nor the thousands of lower salaried employees who did nothing wrong. That's exactly why they did step in.

    Of course the dollar amounts are repugnant but they are also irrelevant. The Fed decided that AIG needed to be kept afloat and sadly, the bonuses are part of the cost of doing so, whether they are $1. or $10M or $100M. It is a painful lesson hopefully well learned.

    To wit, I support wholeheartedly Mr.'s Bernanke and Geithner in their call for the authority to take over and run these types of large financial institutions in the future, as opposed to just bailing them out but you don't get to change the rules in the middle of the game because they're not working for you.

    We own 80% of AIG (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 09:35:16 PM EST
    You might want to start with that error in your comment.

    It is only the first of many.


    One Exception (none / 0) (#70)
    by canuck eh on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 07:13:05 PM EST
    Unless of course you're the DNC- then you can do whatever you want to obtain the desired result.

    how stupid can a man be? (none / 0) (#79)
    by souvarine on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 11:04:51 PM EST
    I'm struggling to understand his letter. This guy agrees to work for $1 annual (plus guaranteed $742,006.40 after tax bonus), his company collapses and the government takes 80% ownership to keep him working, and he is surprised that government employees don't get million plus annual bonuses (3/4 million after tax)? This guy is one of our best and brightest?

    One would think that basic math skills and the knowledge that even the president only makes $400k (no bonus) would be a requirement for Wall Street high flyers. Guess they are even dumber than I thought. I'll be surprised if this guy avoids jail.

    obvious error #2 (none / 0) (#80)
    by cpinva on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 01:02:27 AM EST
    Unless of course you're the DNC- then you can do whatever you want to obtain the desired result.

    You might want to start with that error in your comment.

    please explain what the DNC has to do with any of this. this should be entertaining.

    since those receiving those "performance" bonuses most clearly failed, in a ginormous way, to perform, there is no contractual obligation to pay them. let them sue if they think otherwise.

    as the 80% owner of the issued and outstanding voting stock of AIG, we can pretty much vote to do whatever the hell we want, as long as it's not illegal.

    if mr. desantis doesn't like it, he can always sue.

    bottom line: he didn't win any bonus points, with anyone, by making that letter public. it will follow him the rest of his days, MIT degree or not.

    DeSantis (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 01:41:16 AM EST
    and his colleagues, first of all, did not receive "performance bonuses." Let's start with that.

    Secondly, DeSantis and his current colleagues did not "fail to perform," in a "ginormous" or even a small way.  Clearly.  They had nothing to do with AIG's collapse and were brought in after the fact.

    Can we please stay within reality?


    AIG failed (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:55:49 AM EST
    How about that reality?

    but wait g-falc (none / 0) (#86)
    by DFLer on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 10:09:15 AM EST
    he says in his letter that he's been with AIG since 1998 - eleven years.

    He was not brought in after the fact, although he claims his division was a good division.


    Sorry to be unclear (none / 0) (#91)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 12:34:31 PM EST
    They were brought in to do the clean-up after the fact.  From every bit of info I've read about the people at the FP group these days, few, if any, of them were in a position to have had any responsibility for the crapola that led to the collapse.

    so who does have the responsibility (none / 0) (#94)
    by of1000Kings on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 03:40:36 PM EST
    for trading in these extreme securities?

    no one...it just happened?

    not one smart guy in the company thought to himself that this could be a problem....

    maybe I could talk AIG into insuring my losses at the Casino...sounds like something those smart guys might be into...


    you are wrong on your facts (none / 0) (#99)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 09:23:03 AM EST
    WHO CARES ABOUT AIG (none / 0) (#82)
    by rhonda on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:17:09 AM EST

    please don't type in capitals (none / 0) (#97)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:31:08 PM EST
    it's considered shouting. Thank you.

    Well, someone does not like his new (none / 0) (#88)
    by ruffian on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 10:46:38 AM EST
    status as a government worker, does he? Wish the rest of us folks who get our paychecks from the taxpayers got million dollar bonuses!!

    The president of class warfare (none / 0) (#89)
    by Slado on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 11:14:20 AM EST
    That is what Obama's legacy is becoming.

    In order to bolster his political popularity he is playing the class card and many on the left and right are more then willing to give up their freedom as long as the result is hard times for the "rich".

    The problem is of course that once you ceed power to the goverment its hard to give it back.

    Quite ironic that the same mob rule that got us the Patriot Act, Guantanamo etc... that the left was more then happy to complain about is equally ignored as long as the extension of government power is done for the greater good of punishing the rich.

    How long till Obama finds it necessary to start calling someone makeing 200K rich, or 150K or anyone who isn't directly taking money fromt he government.

    Astonishing to see the shoe firmly removed from the foot of the right and place firmly on the foot of the left in this country.   The new boogeyman is not Osama it's the AIG or Wallstreet fat cat.

    Also everyone on this thread (none / 0) (#90)
    by Slado on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 11:22:43 AM EST
    BTD included misses the bigger point of the letter.

    That being that people aren't going to work for free.  AIG is now owned by the government and as a result will now be run like a government agency, IE poorly.  

    The majority of poeple working in the financial sector and Wall Street are smart, dedicated and yes rich.   They will not work for free or some small government stipend.  They will leave.

    This rush to punish the hard working for the mistakes of a few (sound familiar) will result in a dumbing down of the financial industry right when it needs people like Desantis the most.

    That was the point of the letter, or at least one of the points and everyone rushing to say...I stopped feeling storry for these guys a long time ago... misses the point.  

    If we want elected politicians to run companies then keep up the policies of Obama and Giethner, punish people because they're "rich" and see where that gets us.


    Plenty of good (none / 0) (#92)
    by ruffian on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 01:55:18 PM EST
    smart talented people run successful companies for far less than what this guy pulled down in one bonus this year. We have no idea how much money he makes in a normal year. The idea that these companies would collapse without paying these same people that much money is just mistaken. There are plenty of people who would do those jobs for less.

    yes, rich people do work (none / 0) (#95)
    by of1000Kings on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 03:47:25 PM EST
    so much harder than those in the middle class....

    we are taught this in America from birth...it must be true...

    I say don't go after their salaries, go after them with criminal charges...
    that way it's not class warfare...just put them in jail for the disgusting acts they have committed against the common good of our Country...

    but wait, no one is to blame for this recession...it just happened, that's right...we can't blame anyone...especially not the 'SMART' guys on Wall Street that just happened to make the decisions worse than those that your average labor worker probably would have made...


    all this (none / 0) (#96)
    by of1000Kings on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 03:49:57 PM EST
    the rich people on Wall Street are hard-working and smart talk just makes me want to be in the let them fail group...

    where would all these smart people be if AIG, Lynch, Lehman, BOA, etc, etc, etc, etc were just left to themselves?

    they'd be out of jobs along with the rest of the people working for those companies...and better yet most of their worth would be insolvent considering the companies that they are working for would be bankrupt...


    Um (none / 0) (#98)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 09:22:18 AM EST
    I suggest that DeSantis is saying he knows nothing about what happened.

    Not at all sure why we need him.

    We'll find out now won't we? I d on t expect the world to end. Do you?


    For the record (none / 0) (#93)
    by CST on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 03:09:31 PM EST
    the class warfare is not coming from the president.  It is coming from the people.  The president and members of congress are just being pols and reacting to their constituents.  The people are pi$$ed - and it has nothing to do with what Obama or some other congressperson says on tv.  

    It has everything to do with the fact that the rich in this country have bankrupted the rest of us, and we have to deal with it in our daily lives on a very real basis.  We see our friends and family and selves being laid off en masse, we see our neighborhoods losing value ude to forclosed and abandoned homes, we see things like tent city where thousands of people are homeless, we see our retirement funds gone and we are furious.  Nothing that a pol says on t.v. can make us madder than we already are.  They are reacting to us, not the other way around.

    We "ceded" that power to the gov't a long time ago for a lot of this stuff, and they have been giving it back for years.  This country functioned just fine with a top tax rate of 39% - and it will again.