Teachers and School Service Personnel Outraged Over AIG

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President Obama, along with Congress and millions of American taxpayers, have been outraged over AIG's plans to pay over $165,000,000 in bonuses to top executives at the AIG Group who are responsible for losses of over $40 billion. This hits home in West Virginia in light of a current West Virginia teachers and school personnel class action lawsuit, through named Plaintiff Cheryl Dougherty, filed against the global corporate giant; its subsidiaries, including VALIC; a litany of individual "agents" comprised of former school administrators, coaches, legislators, and community leaders recruited by AIG; and the West Virginia Consolidated Public Retirement Board.

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Attorney Harry Bell, Jr., of Bell & Bands, PLLC (http://www.belllaw.com) in Charleston, West Virginia, has filed the class action against AIG and its subsidiaries which is currently pending in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County, and entitled Dougherty v. Cerra, et al., CA No. 08-C-2080, assigned to Judge Tod Kaufman.

Attorney Bell said, "Considering AIG's financial state and the astronomical federal bailout funds it received, its decision to pay over $165,000,000 in bonuses to a select group of top executives who are responsible for over $40 billion in losses is absolutely insane, reckless and totally reprehensible."

In regard to the West Virginia teachers' suit, Attorney Bell said, "Over 14,000 teachers and school service personnel in West Virginia are deeply interested in the debacle that is their retirement accounts. Their individual financial well-being was and continues to be placed at risk due to highly-leveraged, high-risk credit default swaps of collateralized debt obligations by AIG. That is bad enough, but the recent bonus payments show a total disconnect from reality on the part of AIG."

Attorney Bell went on to point out some of the facts of the situation. He said, "Here you have AIG being a large part of the problem for the credit financialmeltdown in the country over the last year and a half, yet they have the audacity to believe that their senior management is entitled to millions of dollars in bonuses."

Attorney Bell added, "Instead of offering to make good on promises to ensure the retirement future of West Virginia teachers and school service personnel, who we now know were taken advantage of by AIG, because those promises were false, by paying some of that unbelievably huge amount of bonus money to those who are far more deserving, victims of a scam, AIG has chosen to handsomely reward its own personnel for what the entire country knows is a 'job undone.'"

The claims against the West Virginia Consolidated Public Employees Retirement Board are being defended by a policy of insurance purchased through the West Virginia State Board of Risk and administered and handled by AIG. In this regard, Attorney Bell said, "Does anyone find it terribly ironic that AIG, which in large part caused this mess, nationally and locally, is also providing a defense to the State of West Virginia and the State Auditor who participated in this fiasco regarding teachers' retirement funds? Rather than stepping forward, either as a named individual entity or in providing the insurance coverage for the Auditor and Retirement Board to attempt to fix the situation, AIG is instead continuing to claim it did nothing wrong in the way these retirement accounts have been handled, while at the same time paying these exorbitant, unearned bonuses with government bail-out money."

Attorney Bell stated, "West Virginia teachers and school service personnel get ripped off, AIG gets paid fees by the State for providing a defense on behalf of the Auditor and the Retirement Board, and it also pays thousands of dollars to defend itself. Then it obtains government bailout funds and pays out hundreds of millions to internal cronies. I cannot wait to see this case heard by a jury and have AIG executives from Wall Street come to West Virginia to try to defend their actions."

About Bell & Bands, PLLC
Practicing law for over 25 years, the personal injury lawyers of Bell & Bands have the legal and technological resources needed to litigate the most complex cases in court. The attorneys of the personal injury law firm are committed to providing their clients with high-quality legal representation. For more information regarding our practice, visit http://www.belllaw.com and contact the West Virginia trial attorneys at Bell & Bands. Located in Charleston, we represent clients throughout Huntington, Parkersburg, Logan, Martinsburg, Williamson, Wheeling, and Bluefield.

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