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Heckuva Bailout: Citi and AIG Still Pay Hundreds of Millions in Sports Sponsorship

"This type of spending is indefensible and unacceptable to Citigroup's new partner and largest investor: the American taxpayer."
 
 
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In his press conference today, Obama says he wants Detroit automakers to come up with a "plan" before they can receive a bridge loan that will keep three million jobs from being lost as we teeter on the edge of a global depression. 

I guess this is the plan for Citi and AIG:

AIG, Citibank and a number of other federally bailed-out financial institutions have no plans to cancel hundreds of millions of dollars in sports team sponsorships, even as they take billions in taxpayer support, ABC News has found.

In boom times, the sponsorships were seen as a way to advertise the firms' "brands" and appeal to potential customers. Even today, at least one bank told ABC News that a naming deal was increasing its revenue. But critics, including a member of Congress, say the decision to continue them now is hard to defend.

Struggling Citibank just sealed a multi-billion-dollar emergency "backstop" deal with the U.S. government. The financial behemoth, suffering with billions in bad mortgage-related assets on its books, recently shed 53,000 workers and saw its stock price lose over half its value. Yet it's in a 20-year contract to pay the New York Mets $400 million to name the team's new stadium "Citi Field."

"This type of spending is indefensible and unacceptable to Citigroup's new partner and largest investor: the American taxpayer," said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., in a statement Monday. 

Jane Hamsher is the founder of FireDogLake. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect.

 
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