Have you been wondering where have all those TARP bailout billions have gone- the money the Bush admin tossed to Wall Street haphazardly- with no strings attached?
Bank of America CEO and Chairman Kenneth Lewis has been issued a subpoena by the New York State Attorney General's Office, which is investigating whether the bank violated state law by withholding information from investors. Last week, he accused Merrill Lynch, which was acquired by Bank of America late last year, of secretly doling out big bonuses before reporting a huge quarterly loss.
"Merrill Lynch's decision to secretly and prematurely award approximately $3.6 billion in bonuses, and Bank of America's apparent complicity in it, raise serious and disturbing questions," A.G. Cuomo wrote in a letter to Rep. Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services.
In his letter to Frank, Cuomo said Merrill gave bonuses of at least $1 million each to 696 employees, with a combined $121 million going to the top four recipients. The next four recipients were awarded a total of $62 million, and the next six received $66 million, he said. In all, the bonuses for 2008 totaled $3.6 billion.
"While more than 39,000 Merrill employees received bonuses from the pool, the vast majority of these funds were disproportionately distributed to a small number of individuals," Cuomo wrote. "Indeed, Merrill chose to make millionaires out of a select group of 700 employees."
The attorney general said Merrill "awarded an even smaller group of top executives what can only be described as gigantic bonuses."
Cuomo also claimed Merrill handed out the bonuses ahead of its federally funded acquisition by Bank of America, which was announced in mid-September and closed by year's end.
It "appears that, instead of disclosing their bonus plans in a transparent way as requested by my office, Merrill Lynch secretly moved up the planned date to allocate bonuses and then richly rewarded their failed executives," Cuomo wrote.
Bank of America has received $45 billion in federal bailout money, including $20 billion to support its takeover of Merrill. Bank of America reported a net loss of $1.79 billion for the fourth quarter. Merrill reported a net loss of $15.31 billion for the fourth quarter. (CNN)
So there you have it! The TARP funds are getting handed out as million dollar bonus money. People getting rewarded for running banks into the ground & take taxpayer money to celebrate the whole ordeal! Did we get screwed big time or what?
I hope they nail the bastards.