Running an advertising campaign that boldly states Thank you, America for the $182 billion bailout that saved the company from bankruptcy, the American International Group now is thinking about suing the U.S. government since the bailout cheated its shareholders out of tens of billions of dollars. Best thank-you ever.
The board of A.I.G. will meet on Wednesday to consider joining a $25 billion shareholder lawsuit against the government, court records show. The lawsuit does not argue that government help was not needed. It contends that the onerous nature of the rescue the taking of what became a 92 percent stake in the company, the deals high interest rates and the funneling of billions to the insurers Wall Street clients deprived shareholders of tens of billions of dollars and violated the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits the taking of private property for public use, without just compensation.
[ ] The choice is not a simple one for the insurer. Its board members, most of whom joined after the bailout, owe a duty to shareholders to consider the lawsuit. If the board does not give careful consideration to the case, Mr. Greenberg could challenge its decision to abstain.
Should Mr. Greenberg snare a major settlement without A.I.G., the company could face additional lawsuits from other shareholders. Suing the government would not only placate the 87-year-old former chief, but would put A.I.G. in line for a potential payout.
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