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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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Does this seriously surprise anybody? Yet anoher example of why all these bailouts are a very bad idea

2037 days ago

Tiger's Help Sucks Too    

The U.S. Government should seize Northern Trust's assets and prosecute the slimy bastards running the place to the fullest extent of criminal law.

2037 days ago


These people are the FIRST ones who should lose their jobs.

2037 days ago

Just Me    

I have a suggestion for our President; have the government institute the following policy effective immediately: Starting at the corporate top (NOT at the bottom), for every million dollars of bailout money a company accepts, one position is eliminated. Once the CEO's, CFO's, boardroom members etc. see their jobs eliminated, are held accountable and are walking the mile in the moccasins that everyone else is, I'll bet the financial meltdown gets fixed overnight.

2037 days ago


Shameful. We should all contact our representatives to express our outrage.

2037 days ago


Thank You for breaking this "News" story. The typical news agency are sold out and would never expose this lavishness. This story could have come from the Washington Post or LA Times but all those publications are in bed with the advertisers..aka The Banks and the government. They are in love with "Obama" and Peloski and would NEVER print anything that puts the Dems in a bad light. Thank You again for this story.

2037 days ago


All of this sounds about right! Just increase my (& your) credit card APR because of the "economy" and "profitability for the bank" and everything will be o.k. - somebody has to pay for these treats. And you thought the crooks were just in politics!!!!

2037 days ago

Same old same old    

I wonder how many of the people who voted for Obama did any research before voting, I did and could not vote for him, He did indeed finance his home through Northern Trust and he was given a discount on the loan, He has backtracked on promises already. He is making the Auto companies jump through hoops, yet He has done nothing regarding the bank bailouts, Perhaps he needs to ask them to repay the money as they surely do not need it. Also, his mortgage plan does not help anyone who has a house now worth less then their mortgage, which is why they are unable to get out from under their home loan in the first place. Please Mr. Obama the lower middle class and middle class voted for you, Try helping working americans, that would really be a Change.

2037 days ago


Obama is a disaster. Thank you, you effing idiotic liberals, for bringing great country down. Obama should never even have been in the race after the Wright deal came out. Freaky that half of America is nuttierthan a s***house rat.

2037 days ago


Hey TMZ, you need to have a "BOTH" responsible option! I couldn't vote. March 4th when the new mortgage guidelines go into effect I'm contacting my bank to greatly reduce my interest. I will not be able to keep my house otherwise due to my declining income (because of the layoffs and economy) and my small house is worth 100K less than what I bought it for 5 1/2 years ago, so I can't sell it. MY bank, M & I received 5 BILLION from the government. I have a feeling they will actually help a homeowner from losing their home rather than sit on house that's overvalued and will not sell, and they will receive a fraction of what its worth. Let the negotiations begin!

2037 days ago


Well, at least they didn't hold this shindig in Las Vegas

2037 days ago

In Tune    

Good for them. They provided employment for those at the events, provided stimulus to the Los Angeles community and good times for all.

2037 days ago


The government needs to let these banks fail and go out. End of story.

2037 days ago


Once again there is no level Sheryl Crow won't stoop too. First Big Brother and now this...
Isn't it also pretty disgusting that these "artists" accepted the gig?

2037 days ago


I WANT RECEIPTS!!!! Just like Wanda Sykes said-it's welfare for rich people. The poor keeping the rich even richer.

2037 days ago
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