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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, so much for Sheryl Crow's supposed lofty ideals... just another LA hypocrite. As for the bank, disgusting. Doesn't matter whose money they used.

2033 days ago


Everyone of these so called excutives should face felonies for using this
tax payer money for unlawful adventures. Did they really think they could
get away with this still???? And for any 'star' who performed they should be
bocotted. Do they not realize how much the rest of us are struggling to
pay for everyday things????? All CEO's should have a salary cap inforced
by the federal governement with no special bonus at years end unless
everyone else in their organization's also get a bonus. It is time for this
type of big business to stop, Most of the CEO spend their day golfing
anyway while the person who makes $12.oo an hour does all the work.
SHAME SHAME SHAME. It makes me embarresed to be an American

2033 days ago


Time to stop paying. We've already paid for the bailout, we're still paying taxes and now the Dems
are wanting to add more money on top of the bailout package to our expenses. I'm done. I say we
pay nothing. If we've bailed these banks out then they should call our mortgages and other loans
paid for and we shouldn't owe them a damn dime. Car loans too since we bailed out the auto
industry. Obama should make it to where we don't have too seeing as this was his stupid brain
child. Another moron running this country and Pelosi needs to be sent to Russia to a cold dank
cell block along with Reid and Barney. Uggg these people make me sick.

2033 days ago

Incentive Recovery    

Just a heads-up! Many mid-size banks who are able to remain in business as a result of government assistance must now seek to discover new viable investors. Whether or not Northern Trust accepted funding should not become the issue, especially from those in Congress who've looked the other way for 5-decades. It is likely that Northern's customer retention and employee appreciation programs have appeared in several of their annual operating budgets over recent years because it is, in fact, the cost of doing business. . .for all who are in business.

It is also likely that Northern Trust would be happy to return whatever would keep Barney's gavel idle for a day or two. Unfortunately, it won't stop useless dialogue from those who toss eggs at cars they'll never own.

2033 days ago

Kathy Erickson    

There are many banks that are doing well and did not get caught up in the mortgage mess. This bank did not ask for the money. Thia bank could afford the sponsorship and the arms and legs that go with it. If they couldn't they would have gotten out of the contract. There are many ways of growing business, sustaining customers, etc. However, a scaled back/subdued entertainment package for their customers and clients in todays economic climate probably would have been a better PR move.

2033 days ago


I say Barney Frank deserves a punch in the mouth for this. He's so determined to piss away taxpayers' money that he's giving it to people who don't even want it.

How would you react if someone gave you a thousand dollars you didn't ask for and then after they found out how you spent it they demand you pay the money back? Would you get out your checkbook or get out your middle finger?

2033 days ago

Question 69    

I saw Chicago in Long Beach on Saturday. Man, 42 years and those guys still blow!

2033 days ago


Oh come on you idiots, read the statement.
Banks HAD to receive this "bailout" money, OBVIOUSLY Northern Bank uses different funds than what the government gave them to fund entertainment evenings like this, the "taxpayers'" money will go into investments or assets...
And events like this are NOT uncommon in the financial world, part of why they make so much money for themselves and for charities is through wining and dining the rich.

2033 days ago


Why are people dinging Earth Wind & Fire, Chicago, and Sheryl Crow?
Their booking agent called them months ago with a gig and they showed up . . .do we think musicians should "vet" their gigs.
"Hey Sheryl, wanna play at the HOB in 6 months for a private party?"
"Sure, but do an FBI background check first okay?"

Bankers are the crooks here . . .

2033 days ago


Shame on you Sheryl Crowe for performing at this event since most of your fans hard earned dollars were given to these schmos...Shame on you just shame on you. Chicago and EWF you are nothing but a bunch of has beens....

2033 days ago


now everyone can leave octomom alone, with all the wasting of taxes BS, I rather pay my taxes toward this children that dont have nothing to do with this rage,than to spend it on this useless parties.

2033 days ago


I agree with Barbara. TMZ SHOULD BE ASHAMED. This is comletely inaccurate information. Northern Trust did nothing wrong. Absolutely nothing. This does not involve bailout money. These events are scheduled months and months in advance. Do your homework, TMZ. Northern Trust is a reputable company that is not involved with anything unethical whatsoever. Shame on you for dirtying the name of such a fine company. Stop spreading inaccurate, negative gossip and try to do something worthwhile with your efforts.

2033 days ago

a Chicago fan    

Wow...someone else besides me wanted to see Chicago??? Who knew

2033 days ago

Tom Hopper    

Hey don't blame the artists, blame the bank. These deals were made months ago.

2033 days ago


If Northern Trust is such a healthy bank, why did they lay off 350 employees in December 2008? I am an independent at heart because I possess liberal/conservative views. Obama is linked to this bank receiving a mortgage of around 5.6% when the average interest rate to the majority of customers with excellent credit was 6%. He has not addressed this concern just yet, hmmm....... It is what it is, the rich, powerful, and/or elite consuming the average citizen which constantly makes our middle-class shrink and always will. Capitalism is doomed because the rich will ALWAYS get richer and the middle class will barely make ends meet which is not the true definition of the middle class. Socialism is the only way for the "People" to take back our country. Before you think so Socialism as a stigma (i.e. Crack Pot Chavez & Castro) research what this system truly provides the commonwealth before passing judgment. Just look at Canada for proof of Socialism’s success referred to as Social Democracy. Democrat/Republican politicians will ALWAYS provide 100% support to their base (Special Interest Groups). Just like the phrase from Michael Douglas in the movie American President, "The people will follow anyone that will step up to the podium who can convince them (People) that they shall lead them to water only to recognize once there that it is actually sand that they will drink". People want to believe so badly that "Change" is here that it takes about 5 or 6 times of getting kicked in the head before realizing that they were wrong once again. Food for thought: The Federal Reserve controls this country with politicians as their puppets

2033 days ago
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