MARTA’s risky venture into complicated leaseback transactions with insurance giant AIG and others has turned a $15 million profit, at least so far, state auditors said today. Dozens of U.S. transit agencies took part in the leaseback deals, which offered a profit for MARTA and a tax shelter for the investors. The deals seemed safe until AIG lost its AAA credit rating a year ago, leaving MARTA on the line to pay termination fees that could have totaled hundreds of millions of dollars.
By PAUL KIEL, ProPublica
Starting with this post, we’ll be updating you every month on the status of the taxpayer-funded bailouts we track in our database — namely the TARP and government rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Recent reports by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have drawn attention to the billions in revenue that the Treasury Department has collected from companies early in returning their TARP investments. While those returns have been encouraging, there’s no question that the taxpayer remains deep in the red.