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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."

285 COMMENTS

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16.

Leigh    

Seems like the new boss is same as the old boss. What was that old song by the Who Won't Get Fooled Again? Weren't they the optimists on human nature -you can fool most of the people most of the time and in democracy that's enough.

2007 days ago
17.

Elrod    

Why shouldn't my tax dollars go to petit angus filets?

2007 days ago
18.

Santo    

So this is what my grandkids and my grandkids' grandkids are going to be paying for, huh?

2007 days ago
19.

ab    

Just proves that it doesn't matter if it's vegas, la, san francisco, or anywhere else...if the bank can't be trusted not to blow money on frivolous things, it doesn't matter where they go, they still will blow the money. Glad some of them paid extra to cancel their conventions in vegas to prevent image problems

2007 days ago
20.

john    

Oh my God how SHOCKING!!! NOT!! This is typical behavior of the rich and wealthy!! So much money to blow, and very little time to do so!! Really STIMULATING isn't it America?? Stimulating our STRESS levels, and creating FRUSTRATION! Big money continues to toss around big money-.. the rich get richer, when the only REAL answer to stimulating our country is to STOP the madness of REWARDING bad managers of MONEY with even MORE MONEY!! Give the AMERICAN TAXPAYERS BACK THEIR MONEY, ...and watch this country get "stimulated"!!! No hard working american can even imagine what BILLIONS of dollars looks like?? And would this country be in such bad shape if we took the money these bozos have spent, along with AIG and their wasted millions, and hollywood's GRAND parties (Golden Globes, Oscars, NAACP's, Grammys, and other WASTEFUL SPENDING like all the PRESIDENTIAL INNAUGURAL BALLS).. and put that money toward our COUNTRY??? The only MONEY problems I'm seeing are those of the wealthy only want MORE!!!??? And average American workers tend to be the "turnips" giving of blood, sweat and tears!!??

Oh, and ONE MORE IMPORTANT POINT TO MAKE HERE.... THIS IS A BANK OUT OF CHICAGO!!!!!!!!!!!! ANYONE ELSE NOTICING ALL THE STORIES OF CORUPTION AND GREED COMING OUT OF ILLINOIS LATELY?????

LEAST OF ALL ..ANYONE RECALL WHERE OUR PRESIDENT WAS A SENATOR- AND RESIDED!!!!!!!!!!!! ????

WHEN WILL ALL THE DARN SHEEP PIECE THE PUZZLE TOGETHER, AND STOP DRINKING THEIR DAILY KOOL-AID!!?

2007 days ago
21.

john    

oh yea.. and Northern Trust will merely get the usual (and expected) GOVERNMENTAL SLAP ON THE WRIST for this!!!

The "shame on you" speech...

How predictable.

2007 days ago
22.

Louie_Kapoohy    

Tsk Tsk!!

2007 days ago
23.

Not suprised    

Isn't Northern Trust the same bank Obama got a loan from for his house in Chicago?

2007 days ago
24.

SHE'S AN ATTENTION WHORE    

This just smells. It's so blatantly wrong that it's disgusting. The board officers need to be relieved of their positions without any golden parachutes. If I were a shareholder in this bank, I'd be filing suit to oust the board the morning after this happened. Total lack of any corporate & financial responsibility...

2007 days ago
25.

AQ    

Easy solution - all customers of this bank should close their accounts and take their business elsewhere. So what if banks like this close? It's time we the people take matters into our own hands instead of whining about it, complaining the government isn't doing anything but then we don't do anything either. I haven't bought gas at Exxon since the Valdez horror and I stopped buying gas at Mobile when they merged with Exxon. I haven't been to a pro- baseball game since the strike of 94 and I refuse to support Wal-mart in any way, shape or form. I drive out of my way to support local mom and pop shops instead of chain stores when I can. If we won't stand by our principles then how in the world can we whine about the government or corporations ignoring them to?

If we want to see real change in this country it must start with us. Obama can only do so much but if we aren't willing to hold these CEO's and corporations accountable then why should he? So instead of blaming the bank or the gov't simply pull your money from this bank (if you have an account) and don't support any of the artists who agreed to participate in these events or companies that gave products (like Tiffany's though I doubt most of us can afford Tiffany's anyway!).

2007 days ago
26.

redheadisnotdead    

the reason they did this is to attract rich new clients, because Northern is a possible good stock. i agree that the lavish spending in the wake of such economic collapse is reprehensible, but i see this as the bank trying to lure clients, not to piss off the american public. it appears that their ploy worked because their stock is rated as one of the best rising bank stocks.
but it is disgusting the way in which they felt they needed to attract clients. by spending such an obscene amount of cash on a party was meant to show the bank is thriving, and therefore they look better in comparison to other banks.

2007 days ago
27.

Correction    


I agree it is ludicrous to be spending all that cash on frivolity when a huge bailout is coming your way, but let's put on our thinking caps for just a second and realize that sponsorships for PGA events are organized a long way in advance, including the budgets for ancillary entertainment.

Show me a big bank doing something like this in a year and I'll consider that newsworthy. And show me the evidence that they had already taken the bailout money.

Sure, they could have canceled any sponsorships already in the bag, but then they would argue it would be very bad for business.

This just isn't all that surprising. Anyone who actually works in commerce or banking would tell you the same thing. This was all set up months ago I'm sure.

2007 days ago
28.

AQ    

And a note for all of the Obama bashers on here - um, WHAT PARTY PUT US IN THIS MESS OVER THE LAST 8 YEARS? Oh, that's right, it was the Republicans and Bush. Hmmm, seems to me we had the largest surplus in our history when Bush came in thanks to Clinton and in a matter of months Bush did to the country what he did to five corporations (including a MLB team) - ran it into the ground. So you can stop blaming Obama (who has only been president for just over 30 days might I add) and blame your darling Bush and the GOP for getting us so far into this that we took the rest of the world down with us. Yep, fine job great, mighty, rich, out of touch Republicans.

And you think McCain would have been any different than Bush? Mr. willing to be bi-partisan and work with Obama has been the one having the biggest hissy fits in the Senate and refusing to do anything at all to help the country. Fine show of 'country first'.

But alas, in the GOP world nothing is their fault. The last 8 years, no doubt, were the fault of Clinton and Obama even though neither was running the country during that time. Get a clue and maybe join the rest of us in the real world.

2007 days ago
29.

oprah    

JUST LOOK AT THE PATTERN HERE...IT SEEMS THAT ALL CORRUPTIONS ARE ORIGINATING IN CHICAGO. STARTING WITH OPRAH AND ENDING WITH OBAMA. ANYTHING IN THE MIDDLE IS JUST AN ADDITION TO

NOT SURPRISE AT ALL!

2007 days ago
30.

wtf    

Why is Obama giving ACORN 4 billion dollars? The very people accused of creating dummy votes to get him in office.

Look at how many had to turn Obama down because they never paid their taxes.

Why have the democrats eliminated a stipulation from the stimulus package that would have ensure illegal aliens wouldn't receive our stimulus money.

Obama and congress will continue to do whatever they want and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. Rebel and you will go to jail.

I wish another country would come in and liberate us because we could really use it.

2007 days ago
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