Chicago-based bank Northern Trust Corp. recently received $1.6 billion in bailout money from the federal government.
According to TMZ, the bank managed to spend a significant chunk of that change hosting several lavish L.A. parties and concerts during last week’s Northern Trust Open, a PGA Tour event.
Now the government has found out and is asking for the money back.
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. — chairman of the House Financial Services Committee — and 17 Democrats who sit on the committee sent a letter to Northern Trust’s CEO asking that the bank repay what it spent on the entertainment during the golf tournament.
The letter read: "This behavior demonstrates extraordinary levels of irresponsibility and arrogance. We insist that you immediately return to the federal government the equivalent of what Northern Trust frittered away on these lavish events."
After laying off 450 employees in December, the bank reportedly flew hundreds of clients and employees to L.A. and housed them at swanky hotels.
More than 100 were put up at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills. Another 100 bunked at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. Some stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Marina del Rey, and others camped out at Casa del Mar in Santa Monica.
Here’s the fun they all had: first, a fancy dinner at the Ritz, followed by a performance by the group Chicago. Then Northern Trust rented a private hangar at the Santa Monica Airport for dinner, with a performance by Earth, Wind & Fire.
On Saturday, Northern Trust sponsored a private party at the House of Blues in West Hollywood with a performance by Sheryl Crow, who was pretty darn busy raking in the bucks last week.
Crow performed at the Children Mending Hearts Gala at the House of Blues on Feb. 18 and at Global Green’s annual pre-Oscar eco-soiree at the Avalon the night before playing the bank bash.
Northern Trust released this statement yesterday. In it, the bank acknowledges paying for the events, but insists that it didn’t use federal bailout money. It says the PGA expenses came out of "operating expenses."
Oh, well, that makes a big difference. Why didn’t they say so in the first place?
Wait, isn’t money money? No matter what budget it comes from?
How stupid do they think we are?
Are you as mad as I am?