Liddy (made) an appearance to brief Congressmen on AIG's progress. He told them the one thing that accusers cannot stand to hear. Liddy was innocent of any of the charges they made against him, and that was a plain and simple fact. As he said at the time, "Six months ago I came out of retirement to help my country. At the government's request I've had the duty and extraordinary challenge of serving as chairman and chief executive officer of American International Group, or A.I.G."
The way that Liddy has been treated is bound to undermine whatever spirit of voluntarism exists among executives in the private sector who will be called on in the future to help the federal government when it has critical and particular needs.
Liddy should have concluded his March testimony and cross examination in front of the House Financial Services subcommittee by pulling a blank sheet of paper from his brief case, writing his resignation on it, and handing it to chairman Barney Frank. Liddy is too class an act to have done that. He at least waited until AIG has reached a more stable state and left without a word of anger.
Reality from FDL:
Time decides to boost its margins by entering the fiction arena. Douglas McIntyre writes:
Liddy came to the company at a time when it was close to being scuttled by losses from credit derivatives on its balance sheet. He came to work for $1.
Liddy's contract gave him stock in AIG that was never disclosed, and was eligible for a bonus in 2010.
He came to work for $1. He had only been in the job for a few months when AIG posted a loss of more than $61 billion for the last quarter of 2008.
Liddy had only been on the job a few days when he wrote a check to Goldman Sachs for $13 billion as an AIG counterparty, paying full value on credit default swaps for securities worth half that amount, when no default had yet occurred. He did not disclose to Congress that he personally had $3.3 million worth of Goldman stock. Under Liddy's tenure, Goldman stock went from $47 to $137 a share.
He was not involved with a single judgment that forced the company to its knees. He was simply a volunteer who took on an impossible job and was, in return, beaten like a red headed mule by Congress.
Reality detour: I was at the March hearing in question, and wrote at the time, "Edward Liddy comes to a subcommittee hearing to answer questions about AIG bonuses, is sworn in and testifying under oath, he answers questions by every single member of the subcommittee for hours, nobody on the subcommittee asks him how much money we're talking about, and he's not prepared to answer the question when someone finally does." With minor exception, it was a total hand job.
Liddy had committed one unpardonable sin, or at least that was the story that several members of Congress wanted to believe. He had agreed to previously planned bonuses for AIG employees who worked in the part of the company that had created many of the insurance firm's losses.
After refusing to answer Elijah Cummings' questions for months, Cummings asked that he be sworn in, and while under oath, Liddy admitted he'd personally signed 4500-4700 bonus contracts since taking over that had absolutely nothing to do with the Financial Products division.
Liddy was clear in making the point that AIG had a legal obligation to make the payments.
Liddy argued that the government had no right to ask for contracts to be rewritten in exchange for government assistance. Tell it to Chrysler. (Note: Liddy had no problem breaking contracts when he was at Allstate.)
He would have been better off to hold his tongue.
He would have been better off not taking his CEO testimony cues from Jeff Skilling.
The minute he gave an explanation for his actions, no matter how rational it was, his interrogators seized on it as another act of either bad faith or stupidity on his part.
Ed Liddy paid lobbyist Tommy Boggs and Burson Marsteller to shovel bullshit to easily duped people like Doug McIntyre, who ate it up and begged for more.
The members of House Financial Service subcommittee refused to let up on Liddy during the March session when he an appearance to brief Congressmen on AIG's progress. He told them the one thing that accusers cannot stand to hear. Liddy was innocent of any of the charges they made against him, and that was a plain and simple fact.
Here's Elijah Cummings questioning Liddy at that hearing. You decide if that's an adequate description of what happened:
And then there's the gratuitous sex scene:
Liddy should have concluded his March testimony and cross examination in front of the House Financial Services subcommittee by pulling a blank sheet of paper from his brief case, writing his resignation on it, and handing it to chairman Barney Frank.
That still wouldn't have spared him the part where AIG had to issue a press release saying Liddy didn't know what he was talking about during his testimony.
Liddy is too class an act to have done that. He at least waited until AIG has reached a more stable state and left without a word of anger.
AIG will make another round of bonus payments in July and then again in September, which were initiated and signed by Ed Liddy, which the WSJ estimates at $1 billion while Americans continue to shed jobs.
Why would Ed Liddy want to take another rasher of PR shit when he can hang out with guys like Doug McIntyre and Jake DeSantis and cry about the sad predicament of poor rich white bankers? (Update: while, as John Anderson reminds me, Elizabeth Warren gets ambushed by the financial press.)