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Bailout Bank Blows Millions Partying in L.A.

2/24/2009 3:30 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

A bank that received $1.6 billion in bailout money just spent a fortune last week in L.A. hosting a series of lavish parties and concerts with famous singers ... and TMZ cameras caught it all.

Bail out Bank]

Northern Trust, a Chicago-based bank, sponsored the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club in L.A. We're told Northern Trust paid millions to sponsor the PGA event which ended Sunday, but what happened off the golf course is even more shocking.

Northern Trust flew hundreds of clients and employees to L.A. and put many of them up at some of the fanciest and priciest hotels in the city. We're told more than a hundred people were put up at the Beverly Wilshire in Bev Hills, and another hundred stayed at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. Still more stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Rey and others at Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica.

Here are the highlights:

Sheryl Crow: Play videoPlay video

- Wednesday, Northern Trust hosted a fancy dinner at the Ritz followed by a performance by the group Chicago.

- Thursday, Northern Trust rented a private hangar at the Santa Monica Airport for dinner, followed by a performance by Earth, Wind & Fire.

- Saturday, Northern Trust had the entire House of Blues in West Hollywood shut down for its private party. We got the menu -- guests dined on seared salmon and petite Angus filet. Dinner was followed by a performance by none other than Sheryl Crow.

There was also a fabulous cocktail party at the Loews. And how's this for a nice touch: Female guests at the Chicago concert all got trinkets from ... TIFFANY AND CO.

Tiffany Gift Bag
As for what all that costs: Well, the company isn't talking. We spoke with a rep from the band Chicago who said Northern Trust paid them around $100,000. A House of Blues source told us it cost more than $50,000 to close the joint down last Saturday night. As for Sheryl Crow's fee, her rep didn't get back to us. Earth, Wind & Fire acknowledges payment but won't say how much.

As for the golf tournament, a rep from the PGA told us Northern Trust wrote one big fat check in order to sponsor the event. That check covers part of the $6.3 million purse, the advertising costs for the spots on CBS (which broadcast the final two rounds of the tournament) and operating costs. The rep says the fee was negotiated and is confidential.

Lots of people from Northern Trust went to the golf tourney ... in special Mercedes that shuttled them to and from the hotels. But for those who weren't into golfing, they could spend a few hours at the Northern Trust seminar on the credit crunch.

Now how's this for outrage? Northern Trust laid off 450 workers in December, 4% of its workforce.

And here's what's absolutely amazing: The United States Government flat out gave Northern Trust the $1.6 billion in bailout money, and the bank didn't even request it!

Northern Trust gave us a statement yesterday before going total radio silence. A rep for the bank acknowledges they paid for the events, but that the bailout money did not pay for the events. He claims it was paid out of the bank's operating expenses. Here's Northern Trust's full statement to us.

Perhaps we're missing something, but money is money. How can they spend like this when they're using taxpayer's money, whether they asked for it or not? And where the hell is Congress in all of this? Is there any oversight or accountability?

Your tax dollars, hard at work. Thomas Jefferson was right -- "A little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing."


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I actually worked at the Northern Trust Open, and do you want to know something else that's rediculous? Hundreds and hundreds of people volunteered at this event, working long hours in the sun, and they each had to pay for their own uniforms! To volunteer!

Stingy bastards.

2035 days ago



2035 days ago

concerned citizen    

"Our" tax dollars at "work".

2035 days ago

Sue Wong    

It happens all the time AND your damn bloggers harass the Octomon. Gimme a break!!

2035 days ago

I was half an inch away from doing it this weekend.    

I must really hand it to TMZ for doing some honest note worthy investigative journalism. I bet CNN is jealous you covered this one... now how long before another Britney story?

2035 days ago

Fan Since 2007!!!    

Obama is simply finishing the job Bush started.
Both are as corrupt and incompetent as the other.

2035 days ago


A big event like this was probably already paid for before the first stimulus pkg was even signed. Not to say that all is ok, but you don't plan an event like this in 3 months - impossible. The groups were probably already paid for, rooms already paid for, signage already done, etc. So, if they would have cancelled it still would have cost a ton due to the contracts already signed and no refund policies.

2035 days ago

Sam the lamb    

I can't believe that our govt is allowing these ppl to blow all the money we worked hard for. Why is the Govt supporting big business and not concerned about the ppl? I want to know why! thats my money my friends money and my parents money that is going to hel pthese businesses that are doing nothing to help us. Why isn't anyone doing anything about this? its complete horse crap and I want to know how to fix it.

2035 days ago


I'm absolutely disgusted, and I'm FLOORED that Sheryl Crow would take taxpayer money. That's exactly what she did. so much for her idealist politics.

2035 days ago

leave the gun, take the cannolis.    

One day you bunch of lemmings* are mad about Octomom, the next day you are mad about a convention that rewards the top producers in their field.
I am sure that the people that were at that function were the top in their field and actually produce something of value,
Most of you have never even been to a reward function, but let me tell you the top people are very competitive. The best way to get the most from those few people that really help our economy (usually 3% of the people) is to set up trips for them and their spouse or significant other.
Lets talk about Octomom some more.

Lemmings : def. large migrating groups will reach a cliff overlooking the ocean. They will stop until the urge to press on causes them to jump off the cliff and start swimming, sometimes to exhaustion and death. Lemmings are also often pushed into the sea as more and more lemmings arrive at the shore.

2035 days ago



I first saw this on Fox Morning News. There are just no words.

I'm not sure who I'm pissed more at; Congress, or Northern Trust. So what if they didn't ask for the money, that is beside the point ... they still TOOK the money. We need to take it BACK right this second. Take it ALL back. And then if they can't pay their bills, let there be criminal charges. This is just absolutely RIDICULOUS.

There is so much money being flung all over the place that I have completely lost track of who is getting what. I'm not saying don't give any money, but I do expect there to be accountability from those who receive it. No more entertainment. Period. No more ridiculous bonuses. Period. No more hiding your BOOKS. Period!!!

2035 days ago


THats right congress and Obama just keep handin out money like water. If money is going to be handed out, it needs to be done so with management, someone needs to oversea and approve things. . . .this is so effin ridiculous and I cant spell, lol sorry about that.

2035 days ago


WTF! Who the hell is overseeing the money that is being dolled out to these banks and businesses? If they need a bailout they should be cutting their expenses. We should DEMAND answers from our congress and from the federal government! I am pissed...

2035 days ago


After hearing about banks throwing parties after getting bailout money more than once makes me think if Obama is getting kickbacks. What a dumb decision to give out bailout money! This is exactly why government needs to be privatized. Obama is really going to run this country into the ground! Sad.

2035 days ago


So what? Our goverment just spent probaly double that amount to fly in, wine, dine and house in top notch hotels a bunch of state governors and mayors so they can beg for their portion of the stimulus. I'm pretty sure they could have begged via e-mail. These state leaders mis spent our state, city & federal tax dollars on bogus projects, failed to balance their budgets all while their citizens where losing their homes and jobs. Now these govs & mayors want more of our tax dollars claiming more of thier mis spending will pump money into the ecomony and save the day. Sounds like rewarding bad behavior with a nice big vacation to me. Whats sad about this is the people in this county think its ok for our government to spend all they want, on what they want and it's considered pumping money into the ecomony but let a bank pump a few dollars into the ecomony and their the bad guy because they had a good time. How dare Northren Trust give hundreds or maybe even thousands of of hotel, small business and resturants employee's in L.A a glimmer of hope that business's might start spending again and everthing will be ok.

2035 days ago
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