Bank With Bailout Boost Threw Lavish Bash

national trust bank CBS

A lot of people are still ticked off about the taxpayer bailout of financial companies - and here's another reason - a bank that took more than $1 billion has just thrown a bunch of big parties, sparing no expense.



The private party was lavish; the entertainment, top notch. Grammy winner, Sheryl Crow entertained while hundreds of bankers and clients dined on steak and salmon at The House of Blues on Los Angeles's glitzy Sunset Strip. The Saturday soiree capped a week of partying.

There was dinner at the Ritz while the band "Chicago" played and cocktails in Santa Monica. All were captured by celebrity Web site TMZ. And it was all paid for by Chicago-based Northern Trust bank - three months after Northern Trust got $1.6 billion in taxpayer's bailout money and laid off hundreds of workers.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., says the party's over.

"It's insulting," Kerry said. "It's disgusting. It defies common sense."

There were partying at the Northern Trust Open - a golf tournament, with the final rounds broadcast by CBS Sports. Northern Trust declined to appear on camera, but released a statement saying:

  • The Open contract was signed a year before the government bailout existed.
  • No government were funds used for the tournament.
  • Government money were used to boost consumer loans, up 21 percent in a year.
  • And the event was a shot in the arm for LA's economy.

    "The serving staff, the cooks, the caterers, the drivers, the parking lot attendants," said Jack Kyser of the L.A. County Economic Development Corp. "It is a whole long line and these people are quite happy that Northern Trust did have the event."

    But with insurance giant AIG caught partying after taking billions in bailout dollars, Merrill Lynch giving billions in bonuses after a bailout, Northern Trust seems deaf to the tone of the times.

    "It seems to be a question of values and they don't seem to have the proper values or the proper understanding of what the American people are suffering right now," said Ira Rheingold a consumer advocate

    Northern Trust says it was just showing clients appreciation. Angry members of Congress say they'd appreciate if the bank paid taxpayers back.
    • Bill Whitaker

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