Property Firm Purchases Infamous AIG Party Hotel

April 7, 2010

Washington Holdings, a private real estate company, said Tuesday it bought the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort, which became infamous after American International Group Inc executives spent lavishly there weeks after a receiving a tax-payer bailout.

Seattle-based Washington Holdings paid $235 million for the hotel, a representative of the company said. It purchased a portion of a $70 million loan on the upscale Southern California hotel in Dana Point, California for a fraction of the price from an affiliate of Citigroup Inc.

The hotel was transferred to the Citigroup affiliate last year when the owner defaulted on payments for that loan.

Washington Holdings and Prudential Insurance Co were the holders of the $230 million first mortgage on the property.

The St. Regis became a symbol of outrageous corporate behavior in September 2008 after it was discovered executives of bailed-out insurance giant AIG spent more than $440,000 there on spa treatments, salons, golf and dining after the company received $85 billion in bailout aid from the federal government.

The oceanfront St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort opened in 2001 and has 400 guest rooms and suites, an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr, 65,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, restaurants and the 30,000 square foot Spa Gaucin.

Washington invests in well positioned commercial real estate assets in the Western United States. It holds debt and equity interests in hotel properties with more than 10,000 hotel rooms. (Reporting by Ilaina Jonas; editing by Andre Grenon)

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