Congressguys to Citigroup: “Tear Down That Stadium Sign!”

In the wake of President Obama calling Wall Street firms giving their top execs bonuses while demanding government bailouts “the height of irresponsibility,” Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Republican Rep. Ted Poe have teamed up to demand another Wall Street firm cut back its profligate spending. From the press release:

In November 2006, Citigroup announced they had reached an agreement with
the New York Mets to name their new stadium Citi Field. According to the
terms of the agreement, Citigroup will pay the New York Mets a total of
$400 million over 20 years. Citi Field opens for competition at the
commencement of the 2009 baseball season.

Since this time, Citigroup’s financial position has changed drastically.
As you well know, Citigroup received $25 billion from the first
installment of the Capital Purchase Program, authorized by Emergency
Economic Stabilization Act. Since then Citigroup has received an
additional $20 billion from the Targeted Investment Program as well as a
federal guarantee on approximately $306 billion of loans and securities.
Additionally, in November 2008 Citigroup announced their intention to
cut more than 50,000 jobs from their workforce.

Citigroup is now dependent on the support of the federal government for
its survival as an institution. As such, we do not believe Citigroup
ought to spend $400 million to name a stadium at the same time that they
accept over $350 billion in taxpayer support and guarantees.

We request that you intervene and demand that Citigroup dissolve the
agreement they have with the New York Mets. Absent this outcome, we feel
strongly that you should compel Citigroup to return immediately all
federal monies received to date, as well as cancel all loan guarantees.

The odds on this actually happening are pretty slim – if Citigroup tried to cancel its Mets naming rights deal, Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon would almost certainly sue, “good of the nation” or no. But it certainly makes things more interesting, especially given all the recent speculation on the Wilpons’ Madoff-related financial woes.

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