Jake DeSantis: A Defense of AIG Bonuses

AIG employee DeSantis pens letter to Ed Liddy.

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Jake DeSantis, an executive VP in AIG's financial products unit, is getting out. We know this because the NYTimes has his resignation letter, penned to CEO Edward Liddy.

It's a comprehensive rebuke of the AIG-admonishers in Congress and of Liddy himself, who was "not strong enough to withstand the shifting political winds," and committed a "breach of trust" in allegedly asking for the bonus money to be returned only shortly before his Congressional appearance last week, DeSantis says.

Here's excerpt that gives a good insight into how the AIG employees are feeling. Note that DeSantis was not among the group that dealt in the ultimately poisonous credit default swaps:

As most of us have done nothing wrong, guilt is not a motivation to surrender our earnings. We have worked 12 long months under these contracts and now deserve to be paid as promised. None of us should be cheated of our payments any more than a plumber should be cheated after he has fixed the pipes but a careless electrician causes a fire that burns down the house.

A common argument against paying retention bonuses to the AIG employees has been, essentially: Where else can they go? Not only is this the ugliest job market in decades, they're also stained with the AIG name. But not so fast. De Santis says this:

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.

Liddy both defended the bonus payments to Congress last week and told legislators he had asked for the bonus money to be returned--for the employees to "do the right thing."

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