Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Vegas Anyone?

I think companies that are taking bailout money should have to account for every single penny of the handout they are accepting. Now, this is hardly a unique or genius opinion, but after hearing two stories on this morning's news I'm a little bit livid.

Wells Fargo took a $25 BILLION handout, and guess what they are -- rather, WERE -- planning to do with it? I'll tell you: They had planned to host a 2 night retreat in Vegas for 40 people. Rooms were booked at both the Wynn and the Encore hotels. Why? Because the employee recognition conference is a tradition and an important part of their culture. Now I'm not saying they shouldn't continue to recognize employees, but a freebie to the Wynn?? Couldn't they at least stay at Circus Circus, or something? Or better yet, do what my company does and skip the trip and give them free ice cream or a $5 coupon for lunch at the cafeteria. I mean, seriously. How can these people sleep at night? They're using my money and yours to book vacations. I want to use my money to book MY vacation!

As an aside and rather ironically, I was actually the benefactor of one of the lavish employee recognition trips sponsored by Wells Fargo, years ago. My sister won an employee recognition award, and they sent her and a guest (moi) on a 4 day cruise to the Bahamas. All expenses paid ... gifts ... off shore excursions .... posh posh posh.

Anyway, the second company I wanna punch in the face this morning is Citigroup. They took $35.6 BILLION (I keep capitalizing that word because it's so huge I can hardly even fathom it) in taxpayer money and guess what they had planned to do with $400MILLION of it? Again, I'll save you the research time. They were going to buy naming rights to the Mets' stadium.

Thankfully, both of these fiscally irresponsible giants have been shamed into "reconsidering" their use of bailout money. But, I can't help wondering what else is going on that we don't know about. Personally, I think any company that takes a bailout should have to detail how they plan to use all of the money before they get the check ... then, they should be required full disclosure of all accounting once they receive it. There should be reviewers assigned to monitor everything they're doing for a period of time going forward. Any inappropriate use of funds should carry severe civil and criminal penalties for the executive decision-makers.

I'm sorry, but how else do you hold them accountable to exercise appropriate discretion? Apparently, the honor system ain't working.

And no more bailouts until appropriate controls are in place.


Sandi said...

I also saw on the news that the retired CEO of citigroup gets to use the company jet whenever he wants. Shouldn't the company jet be repoed?

Los said...

Agreed! How can these people sleep at night, when they take millions of dollars in bonuses, while people making 40,000 a year or less are let go?

gwen jackson said...

Word. I have a feel this type of lavis spending is exactly what got these companies in trouble in the first place. And I'm sick of hearing, "This was planned before we received the money." So what? It would be like me losing my job and the community chipping in money to pay my mortgage for a few months and me taking my family on a vacation with that money because we already had it planned. That's bullshit. There's a little thing call "Cancel". Maybe you've heard of it, corporate beggars? Anyway, thanks for writing this. I wish you were in charge of determining how the money was spent.

schue said...

This is the reason i am jets, lavish NYC christmas parties,abused expense accounts. I could go on...people with large bonuses ran the company into the ground and left, to live in their Manhattan penthouses,while other people are SOL.

disa said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.