February 25th, 2009
05:27 AM ET
10 years ago

Banker in Obama speech recognized for his generosity

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/24/obama.guests/art.abess.pool.jpg caption="Leonard Abess Jr. was recognized by President Obama during Tuesday's State of the Nation speech."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - More than two dozen guests joined first lady Michelle Obama at the president's speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night.

One person on the first lady's guest list was Leonard Abess Jr., a Miami banker who received a $60 million bonus from the proceeds from the sale of shares of City National Bank in Florida and gave it out to his 399 workers and 72 former workers.

During his speech, President Obama said Abess didn't tell anyone about his generosity, but when the local newspaper found out, Abess simply said, "I knew some of these people since I was 7 years old. I didn't feel right getting the money myself."

Abess demonstrates the kind of "responsibility" the president has called for from high-profile financial CEOs, the White House said.

Obama contrasted Abess' story with the greed that he said got the country into the problems it faces now.

Full story

Filed under: Obama address
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. shane

    Where's my share of that 69 mil Abess?

    February 25, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. darryn

    This what it is all about, what did Christ, say to the rich who wanted everlasting life , he told him to give up all his riches, HELLO WALL ST.

    February 25, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |