AIG employees might be taking home $450 million in bonuses, rather than the $185 and $232 million figures tossed around last week, according to the co-chairs of the Connecticut banking committee and the state's Attorney General.
The discrepancy lies in similar payments that could be made in 2010, to the tune of $230 million or so.
The findings come the day after a contentious public hearing on the issue before the banking committee with Stephen Blake, who heads human resources for AIG, and attorney Patrick Shea, who wrote the memo that led AIG to believe a Connecticut law required the bonus payments.
The committee received the documents, a whopping 465 pages, from AIG late Wednesday, the night before the hearing, which did not give them a whole lot of time. The lawmakers pointed to an AIG-created chart included in the documents the company handed over.
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The bonuses could have amounted to more than $1.2 billion had the Financial Products division's performance remained strong, shows a chart included in the paperwork. Instead, 64 percent of the awards were eliminated.
“Through their testimony, and through review of the documents provided to the committee, we have identified several key findings that were not previously apparent,” according to a statement released by state Senator Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) and Representative Ryan Barry (D-Manchester), the committee co-chairs.
The two also point fingers at the company executives, who they say “put on a personal life vest … when they knew the ship was starting to sink.”
At the hearing, they said, Shea suggested that the payouts would be due even without the Connecticut law on payment of wages.
“He suggested that double payments plus legal fees could be awarded, although the law allows for an employer’s refusal on a ‘good-faith’ basis,” the statement said.
Connecticut's Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is urging Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to halt the $230 million in bonuses slated for payment next year.
There is no law that would impede the action, Blumenthal said.
Those bonuses have been the cause of a national uproar and AIG employees have received some vitriolic messages that include threats on their lives and those of their children.
Calls to AIG have not been returned.