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Should Citibank's contract with the Mets be torn up?

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posted on Jan, 30 2009 @ 01:51 PM
I found this an interesting commentary. While I (as a lifelong Braves fan) despise the Mets and believe them to emmisaries of the Devil, I tend to agree with the author of the piece. First, a contract is a contract and $400 mil for stadium naming rights isn't outside the normal costs companies pay for that contract. I also think he makes a great point about how these TARP funds are supposed to be loans, paid back to the government with interest, so these banks' future profitabillity benefits the government tremendously. That means good marketing, which arguably would include having a stadium that will see lots of national airtime every season named after your company, will certainly play a part.

Two House members, Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Ted Poe, R-Texas, have asked U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to dissolve Citigroup Inc.'s ...SNIP... $400 million naming-rights deal for the new home of Major League Baseball's New York Mets.

The congressmen say Citigroup is in no position to pay that kind of money when it's received $40 billion in taxpayer assistance and government guarantees on another $250 billion on the bank's balance sheet.

His most compelling point:

Second, a contract is a contract. The ultimate goal for these bailed-out companies is to return to profitability and honor its commitments. That means paying back the $40 billion with interest and the bank honoring its agreements.
Third, will Citigroup have to float all its marketing ideas past Kucinich and Poe?

If anything, I think Kucinich and Poe should start at the top with their criticisms. Instead of ripping Citi for making a marketing decision, has the time come for a federal oversight board to be formed to oversee the city & state funds used to build these billion dollar megaliths?

We have a similar situation right here in Seattle brewing. The state is facing a $6 Bil deficit minimum, the city is facing a large deficit (about which the local news has been strangely silent on recently), and King County has been cutting jobs and slashing funds. Meanwhile, discussions have been ongoing about a $750 MILLION expansion to the event center, $300 MILLION retrofit to Husky Stadium, and a $300 MILLION renovation to Key Arena, all three asking for tax payer money to be used. In my humble opinion, before one education dollar is cut from the budget, before one cent from roadway funds is cut, and before one tax is raised, unecessary projects like these should be punted right out of the discussion and never come up again until we've completely recovered from this recession. Since the local and state governments refuse to be rational in these cases, maybe the time has come for a federal committee to be rational for them.


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