The following is a dramatic reenactment. While the actual events are real, a certain amount of color has been added to make the story moderately more entertaining.
Scene: Office of the New York State attorney general, Manhattan. Last night.
Andrew Cuomo put the phone down, said good night to his assistant, Bryce,* and locked the door. At last, he was alone. He strode over to his window, drew the shades, closed his eyes, and let the sound of applause fill his head. “AND Cuomo SCORES,” the announcer inside his head yelled, as the clapping swelled to a musical crescendo that included not a few whoops and whistles. In his darkened office, Cuomo allowed himself a small fist pump. He had scored. Last week, while Congress turned into a bunch of screaming banshees over the AIG bonuses, Cuomo had continued to work doggedly, and at last, his systematic plan of threats and subpoenas had come through: Fifteen of the top twenty recipients of $165 million in retention bonuses from AIG’s Financial Products unit had agreed to give them back. Of course, he’d told the Journal, he would have preferred if these employees, many of whom “had nothing to do with the meltdown in the financial products division” but were trying to “do the right thing,” were giving the bonuses back because they wanted to and not because they were afraid he’d leak their names to an angry populace who would then stalk them and their children.
But you can’t have everything.
“I applaud all the AIG employees that are returning the bonuses,” he’d told the paper earlier that evening. And now, it was time for a little applause for himself. Cuomo closed his eyes again and let the sound fill his ears.
*Not actually a real person.