AIG, which apparently no longer has a PR division on payroll, or even an enterprising young intern to say, "This will not look good," is seeking to gain control of a $490 million charitable endowment in order to pay out bonuses, as well as a clawback of $27 million already donated to the elderly and other people in need. The endowment--Starr International Foundation-- is a subsidiary of Starr International Co, which was started by Hank Greenberg in the 1970s. Starr is technically unaffiliated with AIG though it was set up "to reward AIG executives off the books," and seeded with Greenberg and other co-founders' shares to "pay dividends and build up nest eggs and bonuses for retiring executives." HG closed the treasure chest for future bonuses in 2005 (when he parted ways with the firm); any execs who had vested by then collect when they turn 65, and the remaining 290 million AIG shares were transferred to the foundation. Now the insurer wants all stock going back to '05 handed over, saying it needs the money "for the exclusive purpose of being distributed to AIG employees in the future."
AIG lawyers said in documents it would seek not just the shares still left in the foundation's coffers, but the shares the foundation already cashed out in the past three years to raise $27 million in grant money. That money went to groups like the Sept. 11 Museum ($1 million), Seedco ($500,000) and Citymeals ($250,000).
In related news, they're still seeking submissions for what to rename the place, so if you've got any ideas, let us know.