Sure, there was populist anger over the $165 million in bonuses that bailed-out firm AIG said it had to pay out to executives. And some of it was returned. But now it turns out that less than half of the $45 million AIG executives promised to give back has actually been returend.
The Washington Post reports that, "according to a report by the special inspector general for the government's bailout program," "Some of the employees who had offered to return their bonuses have instead left the company, taking their cash with them. Others remain at Financial Products but are also holding on to their money until they see what Kenneth R. Feinberg, the Obama administration's 'compensation czar,' decides about whether they should get future bonus payments they have also been promised." One lawyer representing some executives who want to keep their bonuses explained, "They have a contractual right to be paid this money. They put in their time, and they have performed all their obligations successfully."
This had been a pet issue for NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who has been calling attention to excessive Wall Street bonuses. (Back in March, he agreed not to divulge the identities of AIG executives who agreed to give back their bonuses.) Cuomo didn't have a comment for the WaPo, which adds this issue will come up again: "AIG is scheduled to pay out an additional $198 million to employees in March."