A Closer Look, Please

March 17, 2009 4:38 p.m.

Over the last couple weeks we learned that after Joseph Cassano, head of AIG Financial Products, got a $1 million a month consulting contract after being canned for destroying the company. He was eventually completely, finally fired last fall after AIG exploded and the government had to take it over.

Michael Daly, at


the NY Daily News, has put together the numbers. And as AIGFP was collapsing into hundreds of billion dollars of losses that the US taxpayer had to pick up, he managed to walk away with a cool $315 million.

Now, I knew that Cassano started out at Drexel Burnham Lambert under Michael Milken, which I believe is that major investment house to go under, at least in the last generation prior to the current crisis (someone tell me, am I forgetting one?). He apparently got hired away from the rubble of Drexel to start AIGFP.

But here’s an interesting little nugget I’d like to hear more about …

Company auditor Joseph St. Denis became concerned about the Financial Products unit, but Cassano barred him from checking.

St. Denis later quoted Cassano as saying, “I have deliberately excluded you … because I was concerned that you would pollute the process.”

Kept the auditor from reviewing the books? If that’s even close to true, that’s a real problem.

Now, let’s add to that. Zack Roth dug up an investor suit from January claiming that Cassano had committed fraud by misleading investors and investigators. And then there were those criminal charges the DOJ brought against Cassano’s AIGFP for helping PNC Financial Services conceal assets from off its books.

You really don’t think there’s anything in what happened at AIGFP that we’re not going to find out fell seriously afoul of a lot criminal statutes? And we’re still paying out these bonuses? I suspect we need to get this conversation out of Treasury and over to DOJ.

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