AIG has been running "Thank you America" ads after paying off its $182 billion bailout, but it's also considering suing the very government that kept it afloat, reports the New York Times. The insurance giant's board will meet tomorrow to debate joining a shareholder lawsuit that claims the terms of the bailout, which included the government taking a 92% stake in the firm, cost shareholders tens of billions of dollars and violated the Fifth Amendment's ban on the government taking private property for "public use, without just compensation."
Insiders say government officials, who note that AIG's shareholders would have been much worse off without the bailout, are angry that the company is even considering such a move, though it may face fresh shareholder lawsuits if it abstains. The suit could win AIG a payout, but only at the cost of serious damage to its already poor public image. "On the one hand, from a corporate governance perspective, it appears they’re being extra cautious and careful," says a professor of law and finance at the University of San Diego School of Law. "On the other hand, it’s a slap in the face to the taxpayer and the government."