Members of Congress are continuing to criticize a sales meeting American International Group Inc. held in California.
A unit of AIG, New York, held the meeting, which was planned long before AIG ran into serious financial problems, in late September at the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, Calif., to reward top producers.
Rep. Harry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called the meeting a “retreat” at a hearing Tuesday and attacked AIG for spending tens of thousands of dollars on expenses such as spa fees shortly after getting access to an $85 billion emergency credit line from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
AIG later pointed out that the retreat was held to court independent distributors, not to pamper its own executives, but members of Congress are continuing to attack the event.
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has called the Monarch Beach event a “scandal and an outrage.”
“If AIG was throwing money around for tee times and hot stone massages while begging for Federal Reserve dollars, it’s a scandal and an outrage and heads will roll,” Baucus has written in a letter sent to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., the chairman of the Capital Markets Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, has asked the government to impose on AIG the executive pay reforms contained in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, and for AIG to “reimburse the federal government for every expense incurred during [the] retreat.”
Kanjorski also asked the Fed to put pressure on AIG to cancel “holiday excursions” planned for agents and others places in coming weeks in places such as the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay, Calif., and the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta.
AIG says it already has canceled the California event.
In addition, the company canceled the event planned for the Ritz-Carlton resort in California.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., says he is “somewhat relieved” by the cancellation, which he has called “nothing less than a slap in the face” to taxpayers.
“I cannot fathom how in the same day–the very same day–that AIG asked the government for another $37.8 billion loan, the company would even consider moving forward with plans to host another large conference at another luxury resort,” Cummings says.