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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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Hey Tmz you forgot to add one more expense. The high priced "escorts" that the old geezers paid for over the They spent about 100,000 on that. Chirp Chirp..hehe

2035 days ago

Linda Mott    

Forget Got Milk, Got any Tar and Feathers!

2035 days ago


OHHHHHH PLEASE # 14 My 15 year old would have been better prepared to handle this economic crisis than McCain. He pulled erratic stunt after stunt until it was painfully obvious that he had no freaking clue what the hell he was talking about. Obama inherited this mess, and it’s going to take a lot longer than the month he has been in office to correct. Bush sold this country to China to finance HIS war!!! If they ever called their notes due, we would all be up the freaking creek. But I do not blame Bush completely, because Congress had to give him the okay to spend like a drunken sailor. I am not all that thrilled with the Stimulus plan Obama's team put together either, but the Republicans have not come up with anything better, and something has to be done. Desperate times call for desperate measures. These banks need to be reeled in, and not another damn penny needs to be given to the car industry until they do something about the unions. There is no way in hell they can survive and be competitive paying retired employees the equivalent of $30 an hour!!! This is not 1955, Honda, Volkswagen, Toyota did not matter then. They are whipping the BIG 3 collective a$$e$$ right now!

2035 days ago

Lord Xenu    

"Chicago based bank"? Figures.

2035 days ago


This monkey business is part of Obama's stimulus plan

2035 days ago


Space cadet boy is here. I love Star Wars and tom Cruise! Yay!

2035 days ago


Thanks TMZ!!! Let's see what is done about this now.If this goes unpunished,then this Obama supporter will realize only the names have changed,the actions remain the same.Wish I had an account at this bank,just so I could go in there today to CLOSE IT!Does Oprah have any of her money there?She could make a big statement for the little people by changing banks,or maybe she was a guest at this event.

2035 days ago

Lord Xenu    

The Democrats took control of Congress back in 2006 and wasted 2 years trying to "Get Bush" instead of cracking down on the banking system and clowns like Barney Frank saying that people trying to sound the alarm years earlier were just mean stodgy Republicans who didnt want poor people to own homes. And its really no suprise that the big bankers donated far more to Democrats in 2008 than Republicans since it was the Democrats last fall who pushed for the bank bail outs (TARP Bill) along with Bush (who acted more like a Democrats in his last 2 years than a real Republican).

Look at how much moolah Obama got from big bankers.

Barack Obama (D)
Top Contributors
This table lists the top donors to this candidate in the 2008 election cycle. The organizations themselves did not donate , rather the money came from the organization's PAC, its individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.

Because of contribution limits, organizations that bundle together many individual contributions are often among the top donors to presidential candidates. These contributions can come from the organization's members or employees (and their families). The organization may support one candidate, or hedge its bets by supporting multiple candidates. Groups with national networks of donors - like EMILY's List and Club for Growth - make for particularly big bundlers.

University of California $1,201,178
Goldman Sachs $955,473
Microsoft Corp $798,049
Harvard University $789,560
Google Inc $782,964
Citigroup Inc $653,468
JPMorgan Chase & Co $646,058
Stanford University $568,566
Sidley Austin LLP $565,788
Time Warner $544,601
National Amusements Inc $541,285
Wilmerhale Llp $524,292
IBM Corp $515,249
UBS AG $513,919
Skadden, Arps et al $505,774
Columbia University $503,566
Morgan Stanley $485,823
US Government $479,306
Latham & Watkins $461,511
University of Chicago $457,735

2035 days ago


LYING,THEIVING,CHEATING banks.let real people take them over,see how something should be run.

2035 days ago


Those freaking "trinket bags" should have been sent to the people who lost their jobs,and I wonder when was the last time they had petite angus filet and salmon,thost items aren't usually on the grocery list of someone getting an unemployment check to survive on.

2035 days ago


wouldn't the bail out money be better distributed to the citizens of this country, like russell crowe suggested, so the economy could really be stimulated & debt paid off? it's a win win. bailing out the very institutions that started this mess so they can continue the mess is more than stupid. hope congress in all of its wisdom requires these fools to pay it back.

2035 days ago

No Way    

not a republican or democratic issue here. the real issue is that if the details are correct here, what will the current administration do to correct this. Huge opportunity for Obama to show he means business. I hope to hell he comes down on this bank hard. Time to sit back and watch.

2035 days ago


I am not sure how relevent most of the comments are specifically to Northern Trust and the golf tournament, but doesn't anybody realize the marketing value of a sponsorship of a PGA golf tournament? Come on people, should every financial institution stop marketing and advertising? That's really not practical, nor is it good business.

2035 days ago


It's the Bank who is being irresponsible. Blame the suit on the top who's authorizing this whole ordeal. Shame. Shame. SHAME!

2035 days ago


Yes...they're screwing us people. Get use to it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2035 days ago
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