Lawsuit fiasco sinks AIG’s rebranding efforts

In a new PR campaign, the poster child for Wall Street greed touted that it paid back the government—and then it considered suing the U.S. government over the bailout, a move its board ultimately declined.

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Pressured by lawmakers, regulators and taxpayers, the board of AIG said it would not join a lawsuit against the federal government over its $182 billion financial crisis bailout. The move followed several days of media coverage—and outrage—that it was considering joining a lawsuit filed by it former chief executive on behalf of fellow shareholders.

In an internal memo, obtained by The New York Times, sent late Wednesday to employees, AIG’s CEO said:

“The board’s decision today was about continuing to move this company forward, not backward. We as a company have kept our promise to return every dollar America invested in us, plus a substantial profit.”

But the damage has already been done. Following the initial news that AIG was considering joining the suit, The Washington Post covered the news in its “Wonkblog” under the headline: “AIG considers suing government for bailing it out, world implodes on itself.”

Legislators were incensed.

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