AIG CEO Suing American Taxpayers For $40 Billion More After Getting a $182 Billion Bailout in 2008
One might call it “chutzpah,” as several irate lawmakers did, or “rubbing salt in the wounds” of the American taxpayer. But to a few Wall Street financiers, a lawsuit that accuses the government of shortchanging the American International Group in its 2008 bailout is something else: a promising investment in a cause they support.
Maurice R. Greenberg, 89, the former A.I.G. chief executive who still holds a large stake in the insurance company, filed the lawsuit on behalf of fellow shareholders. He has now raised several million dollars from three Wall Street companions to help cover the cost of the case. The investors, who are entitled to a cut of any damages Mr. Greenberg collects from the government, contributed about 15 percent of the tens of millions of dollars in legal costs, according to people with knowledge of the arrangement.
Six years after the government saved Wall Street from the brink of collapse, the lawsuit is coming to trial, reopening one of the ugliest chapters in modern financial history. The trial, which begins next week in Washington, will most likely hinge on testimony from the policy makers who orchestrated A.I.G.’s rescue, including former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and former Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner.
So Greenberg wants $40 billion more from us? Wanna bet he’s a Republican who favors “small government,” by which he means small for We the Peons, not small when it comes to bailouts.