Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Will the AIG Crisis Stop the Trains from Running?

A friend tells me that the DC Metro, among other government transportation agencies across the country, got involved in complex financial transactions between AIG and various banks using money held in reserve on rider metro cards.

The transaction appears to have been designed as a tax dodge for the banks involved--which the IRS has now stopped.

Bottom line, the money seems to be at the banks (Some international, a Scandinavian bank has been confirmed to me.) but because AIG was somehow involved, the banks are refusing, with convoluted justifications, to release the money to the transportation agencies.

The banks, deep off the record, will confirm that they are using convoluted reasoning to hold the money because they are trying every trick they can to show as much cash as possible on their balance sheets. If it means more maintenance problems for transportation agencies, so be it. "Let them walk," seems to be the view of the bankers involved.

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