A month after two Staten Island elected officials called for the Mets’ new stadium to be renamed “Taxpayer Field,” a pair of congressmen from other states have joined the calls for Citigroup to relinquish its naming rights in an outcry that may prompt the banking giant to back out of the contract.
Citigroup was considering trying to void the $400 million naming deal with the Mets after U.S. Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D−Ohio) and Ted Poe (R−Tex.) urged the company to pull out after receiving federal bailout funds over the last few months, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“Citigroup is now dependent on the support of the federal government for its survival as an institution,” Kucinich and Poe wrote in a Jan. 28 letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. “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.”
The congressmen asked Geithner to intervene and force Citigroup to dissolve its agreement or compel it to return all federal funds.
Queens elected officials were hard to reach regarding the announcement. City Councilwoman Helen Sears (D−Jackson Heights) suggested the congressmen might be a little out of their element.
“Given the amount of trouble with their own states’ economies right now, I am a little surprised that Congressman Kucinich and Congressman Poe are looking outside their own state borders, but I guess that just confirms that we really are the most important place in America,” she said in a statement.
Councilman Eric Gioia (D−Sunnyside) called for a detailed audit of Citigroup’s expenditures, warning that the company could have bigger problems than the stadium contract.
“A review of their books should start but not end there,” he said. “This could be a red herring.”
The Mets indicated they have no intention of nullifying the $20−million−a−year contract with the struggling financial powerhouse.
“The Mets are fully committed to our contract with Citi,” a spokesman said Tuesday.
Citigroup secured naming rights for the new stadium in November 2006.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at jwalsh@tim
©2009 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.