Citigroup is now under intense pressure to back out of its deal with the New York Mets over Citi Field.
House members Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Ted Poe, R-Texas, have formally asked Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to cancel the troubled bank's deal to pay the Mets $400 million for the naming rights to Shea's replacement.
"Citigroup is now dependent on the support of the federal
government for its survival as an institution," the congressmen wrote. "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
The story is on the front page of the Wall Street Journal
today. This was always a possibility but Citigroup helped exacerbate the situation last week when it was caught in a PR fiasco over the purchase of a new $50 million corporate jet. It made no difference that the jet was ordered before the bank recieved TARP money. As the economy continues to worsen, any perceived wasteful spending is valuable tabloid fodder (hey man, the newspaper industry is tanking too. In fact, stop reading this and go buy a paper. Or better yet, buy an ad on a news Web site).
Of course, some wise-acre blogger with a fetish for the Mets' former digs will probably suggest the new stadium be rechristened "Shea Field." Unfortunately, that appelation probably won't happen. If Citi bails out, the Mets will need a bailout to recoup whatever part of the $400 million Uncle Sam denied them.
Or the Mets will pass the added expense on to us, the fans. Wait a minute, didn't I pay $9.00 for a beer last season? Never mind, I have already paid my share of the bailout.