HARTFORD, Conn. — A human resources executive from insurance giant AIG has agreed to appear Thursday at a Connecticut legislative hearing to answer questions about why the company doled out $165 million in bonuses.
Leaders of the General Assembly's Banks Committee last week subpoenaed a dozen executives, including CEO Edward M. Liddy, to testify.
But Rep. Ryan Barry, a committee co-chairman, said the lawmakers decided to compromise with the company because it became clear that AIG would likely seek a court order to delay the hearing, dragging out the process and possibly challenging the subpoenas to the state's highest court.
Lawmakers said they turned down a couple other AIG officials before agreeing to hear from Stephen Blake, head of human resources for the company's financial products division, based in Wilton, Conn.
Barry said Blake understands how the compensation packages were structured.
"Mr. Blake is someone who can peel back the layers of the onion," Barry said.
Mark Herr, an AIG spokesman, said Blake's appearance is "consistent with AIG's cooperation with the Congress, federal authorities and the New York Attorney General."
AIG has been concerned about its employees appearing at the public hearing because many have received death threats since news of the bonuses first broke. Some executives in Connecticut have hired security firms to guard their homes.
AIG officials have partially attributed their decision to pay the bonuses to a Connecticut law that allows employees to sue for twice the full amount of contractually owed wages — in this case $330 million — as well as attorney's fees, if the employer refuses to pay up.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal called Thursday's testimony from Blake "a first step and an initial stage in an ongoing investigation" by the legislative committee.
Lawmakers said they may privately interview some of the AIG executives who were subpoenaed or other employees at a later time.