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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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well i guess this proves everyone at that bank, is GREEDY PIGS!!!! im disgusted and will laugh when they go bankrupt!!!!

2069 days ago


#277, so much ignorance. Are you kidding me? Republicans, especially Reagan chanted the Mantra of hands off and deregulate and privatize anything that they think can scrape a profit. (Those who believe Free market as god, including Democrats and Clinton).
So much for Banks regulating themselves! This is what got us into this mess! Deregulation!
(The US is full of hypocrisy. Remember what the US was telling those S. American countries when their banks were failing? Oh, that's right. Let the market fix itself!)
And the one post that try to use the Commie Scare tactic really have have no idea what they're talking about. Are you kidding me? Obama a Socialist? How so? Some of the social issues he might be Progressive, but he’s mostly a centrist, more like Clinton than anything else. Just look at his Cabinet picks!

2069 days ago


1. Ole Barney didn't care about tracking the money before. Now he's the one looking stoopid.
2. I guess Ms. Crow and all of EWF don't mind taking Barney's blood money to play. where's the condemnation of artists still getting paid by banks.

2069 days ago


i think these people from the bank should step into my shoes , to see what it feels like to struggle eveyday without money, with no hope for a bail out from congress. They should be ashamed of themselves., Give they money back if you don't need it, I know a lot of people who could use 1.6 billion.( and a tiffiany trinket) How proud their familes must be of them and there wise decisions.

2069 days ago




2069 days ago


Wooooooooo! BUSH! Yeah! FOUR MORE YEARS! Wooooooooooo!

2069 days ago

Big e    

All the executives who approved this should be fired and not be fired with a big payout off of the bogus contract. THey should also be put on TV and humilated to send a hard message to other corporate thieves. THis is part of the problem we have now.

2069 days ago

The Governator    

There should be a 3rd voting option of both. Congress should have had more control before just giving out money and first national should be gratefull for the cash and not spend it foolishly like an @$$. We should send first national's board of directors to the slums of India without any money or pass ports, and keep the childern of slum dog millionare and their family in the U.S. Why was it that TMZ broke this story and none of the major networks. Could the networks have a stake some how? Thank you TMZ for preforming a patriotic service to the citizens of the U.S. and reporting this.

Uncle Sam

2069 days ago

We have a bunch of IDIOTS here!    

What part of contract do all you whiny democrats not understand? What part of publicity and sponsorship brings in more customers do you not understand? Wait you will surely understand this one: They were redistributiating their wealth to all the bartenders, doormen, waiters, maids, and other lower paying jobs in LA for three days. Banking Queen Frank needs to either shut his pie hole or fill it with something else. First he complains about banks not giving out the money now that they have he whines and cries cause it didn't go to get more people mortgages they can't afford in a million years! Think about it Northern Trust was listed in every daily newspaper in the country for 5 days, most every sports cast for 5 days, and they have been all over the Internet for all this week now. This is what is know as advertising and capitolism! BTW why did they even get the money when they didn't ask for it, it was forced on them by good old Nancy, Barney, and Chris Dodd! If you all would quit drinking the media kool-aid and actually read, study, or investigate something for yourself you would see what is going on!

2069 days ago


Right on Harvey,

Keep up the good work and expose these greedy b$stards. These people still think they can get away with this.

2069 days ago


Sorry, but I expect people hired to be in charge of banks (or even people who work at banks) to be better with their money than I am. If I got a huge chunk of money I would probably do the same thing--but I am not a national entity with a public holding on the stock exchange. I am just some piece of crap server/college student that is admittedly terrible with finances--I don't have a college degree in the field or pretend to be an expert in the field or even work in the field--like these jerks who are acting like this is "Daddy's allowance check" for the week.

I. Am. Sickened.

2069 days ago


Crow and Chicago should give their money back for their appearances at excuse for greedy artists hopping on board with these corrupt organizations. The warning shot has gone out now----Greedy Artists will be just as guilty if they are part of these Wall Street firms, Banks, ACORN group, or any other group getting Govt money and then they throw a Bash.

Its over

2069 days ago


If I was out there and saw this going on, I woulda smashed them all in the mouth! And I would taken Cheryl Crows guitar and smashed it over her head (and shoved the drummer's sticks up his butt) for agreeing to play for these douchbags!

2069 days ago

ashley Belcher    

Way to go TMZ!! Even CNN is name checking you!

2069 days ago

Steve R. McAllister    

well, it could be argued that any manager that does not take advantage of free money is acting irresponsibly. If I were a shareholder of a bank, or any business, I would the management to fully take advantage of any free money the government offers. Once they receive it, it is up to them to decide how to spend it, as long as, of course, the ultimate goal is to raise the price of my shares. If holding lavish parties can somehow be argued to be good for the bottom line (and they must be, or they would not be so popular), then they are doing nothing wrong.
The question is why is the government handing out free money. Yes, to encourage banks to start lending again, supposedly, if they decide to do so. But, given the amount of money that is being handed out, they could just create a bank, and start lending the money themselves, OR give the money to the people directly, so they do not have to rely of bank loans.

2069 days ago
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