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March 26, 2009
A very public resignation from AIG
Jake DeSantis, is one bonus rich former A.I.G. executive who is not afraid to go public about his ties to the beleaguered, controversial company. In a public letter to A.I.G. chairman and chief executive, Edward Liddy, published on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times , DeSantis, the former executive vice president of AIG's financial products unit announced his resignation.
The son of school teachers from an Indiana factory town, DeSantis worked hard for everything he got, he claims, including his long work days at AIG but now he feels betrayed; betrayed by Liddy and other A.I.G. officials who last fall promised him and other workers the now controversial bonuses as an inducement to remain with the company but now, under government pressure, refers to the bonuses as "distasteful." He was also betrayed by the populism of government officials who are scapegoating the bonus recipients and reducing Liddy, who is working for literally nothing, to salvage A.I.G.
And what will Mr. DeSantis do with his nearly $750,000 dollar bonus?
That is why I have decided to donate 100 percent of the effective after-tax proceeds of my retention payment directly to organizations that are helping people who are suffering from the global downturn. This is not a tax-deduction gimmick; I simply believe that I at least deserve to dictate how my earnings are spent, and do not want to see them disappear back into the obscurity
of A.I.G.'s or the federal government's budget. Our earnings have caused such a distraction for so many from the more pressing issues our country faces, and I would like to see my share of it benefit those truly in need.
Mr. DeSantis' prominent cry from the heart, backed by his actions, plus the public flogging of Liddy is a prime example of the dangers of an octopus government cynically exploiting populism to extend its claws in all areas of life. Don't say we haven't been warned.