Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal cites anonymous sources claiming Citigroup “eager to quell the controversy over how lenders are using government bailout money, is exploring the possibility of backing out of a nearly $400 million marketing deal with the New York Mets.” From the Sporting News :
Officials at Citigroup have not made a final decision about voiding the 20-year deal between the bank and the team. In a statement Monday, Citigroup said no money from the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) would be used for the stadium deal. The bank received $45 billion in bailout aid from TARP last fall; it has reported net losses of $28.5 billion since 2007, according to the newspaper.
Next week Citigroup Chief Executive Vikram Pandit and other bank CEOs are due to appear before a House committee, where they are expected to be grilled about their use of taxpayer funds, according to the Journal.
Under most circumstances, I would applaud any move that would prevent public monies from subsidizing, even partially, such dubious marketing efforts. And I’ll do just that…applaud very loudly, so long as Citi reneges on this deal after the Mets sign Orlando Hudson.