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"Betrayed" AIG Exec Offers Public Resignation

4875596In a sometimes scathing, sometimes somber letter to AIG CEO Edward Liddy, an executive working in the company's scandal-plagued Financial Products division resigned his post, expressing frustration at being "betrayed" by those he tried to help.

In the letter, which ran as an op-ed piece in Tuesday's New York Times, executive vice president Jake DeSantis said he was leaving the company because "we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials."

Liddy appeared before Congress last week to answer for the $165 million in bonus money going to executives of the Financial Products division – the part of the company widely blamed for AIG's near collapse. Those payments, and their recipients, have been blasted by lawmakers and, notably, the attorneys general of New York and Connecticut, who have sought the release of their names.

DeSantis insists he was not involved in the credit default swaps that are at the root of AIG's problems, noting that most of those responsible "have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage."

But being painted with the same brush as those alleged culprits by Congress has left DeSantis feeling "let down."

"I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down."

DeSantis criticized Liddy for not defending workers in the "face of untrue and unfair accusations" from lawmakers and "baseless and reckless comments" from the attorneys general of New York and Connecticut, Andrew Cuomo and Richard Blumenthal, respectively.

He said the decision to ask for the bonus payments back was a "breach of trust" and only came because Liddy faced political pressure. DeSantis said the promise of the bonuses was the only reason for some workers to stay on at AIG and try to manage its crisis.

"We have worked 12 long months under these contracts and now deserve to be paid as promised. None of us should be cheated of our payments any more than a plumber should be cheated after he has fixed the pipes but a careless electrician causes a fire that burns down the house," he wrote.

DeSantis said he received a $742,006.40 bonus in March and would not return it. Rather, he plans to donate the after-tax sum to various charities, saying he did not "want to see them disappear back into the obscurity of A.I.G.'s or the federal government's budget."