About 20 protesters, along with a press corps of national and international media who outnumbered them, yesterday rode to the Fairfield County, Connecticut, homes of two AIG executives who received portions of $165 million in extra compensation. The payments were made after their Financial Products unit in nearby Wilton had losses that precipitated the insurer’s $173 billion government bailout.
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Douglas Poling and James Haas, whose houses the protesters stopped at, weren’t seen. Both have agreed to return their bonuses, AIG spokeswoman Christina Pretto said in an e-mail yesterday. She declined to say the amount they received.
The AIG bonuses have sparked a national furor, with Obama calling them an outrage and vowing to get the money back. This week the Senate will consider legislation passed by the House of Representatives that would impose a 90 percent tax on employee bonuses at companies that received at least $5 billion in taxpayer bailout funds.
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The house tour in Fairfield County was organized by the Connecticut Working Families Party, a coalition of union and community groups. The county had a population in 2007 of 910,003 and a median income of $79,326, according to the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc. It’s located about 60 miles north of AIG’s headquarters in lower Manhattan. In addition to the protesters on the bus, another 20 demonstrators along with more print and TV reporters, cameramen and photographers trailed in a caravan of cars.