After reading yesterday morning that Citigroup--which has already received $25 billion in bailout money--is adamant in maintaining its $400 million naming rights to the new New York Mets stadium, I was shocked to learn that the company came to the federal government asking for an additional multi-billion dollar lifeline. Surely, if the company has the funds to paste its name to a recreational facility, it has the money to maintain its operations and keep the 52,000 jobs it announced last week it would be eliminating.
While I understand that Citi is under a contractual obligation with the Mets, I cannot understand why the organization seems to be refusing at the very least to explore options out of that contract. This type of spending is indefensible and unacceptable to Citigroup's new partner and largest investor: the American taxpayer. My constituents in Maryland did not turn over their hard-earned wages to fund a baseball stadium in New York.
One would think that the Mets would be open to finding a new sponsor, as well. Why would any team want its new stadium, the symbol of a new era of victories, to be named after and symbolized by a company claiming to be on the brink of collapse?
I strongly urge Citigroup to find a way out of this contract and instead spend that $400 million on retaining its employees and restoring confidence in its operations. Furthermore, I encourage Citigroup and every other corporation depending on taxpayer dollars to stop the reckless spending, and I again insist that Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke start holding these companies accountable. We cannot continue to pour taxpayer dollars into buckets with holes.