Victims' Rights Caucus

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Poe, Kucinich Say Citigroup $400 Million Naming Rights Deal has to Go

Demand Treasury Force Bailout Recipient to Cancel Deal with NY Mets

Washington D.C. (January 29, 2009) One of Congress' most liberal members and one of its most conservative members have teamed up in a letter demanding Treasury officials take steps to force Citigroup to give up its $400 million naming rights deal with the New York Mets.

Representatives Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Ted Poe (R-TX) today sent a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury Department, Mr. Timothy Geithner, requesting that Treasury demand that Citigroup dissolve their $400 million contract with the New York Mets to name the new Mets stadium Citi Field.

In the letter, Poe and Kucinich point out that Citigroup's financial situation has changed drastically since the deal with the Mets was signed in 2006. In the past several months, Citigroup has received more than $350 billion in taxpayer money from economic stabilization efforts and loans. Additionally, in November of 2008, Citigroup announced that their intent to cut more than 50,000 jobs from their workforce.

Citigroup claimed it was on the brink of financial disaster, then demanded and took $45 billion from the taxpayers through government giveaways, said Poe. But now it seems they have an extra $400 million lying around to plaster their name all over the brand new New York Mets ballpark, Citi Field. While average Americans are hunkering down worried about their jobs, food, clothes, and mortgage payments, these irresponsible executives are blowing hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. Citigroup should be held to the same standards they hold their customers to and be forced to repay the American taxpayer first.

"Out of work Americans are literally being killed by this economy. In Michigan, a 93-year-old man freezes to death after the electric company limits his heat. In California, a family is lost in a murder-suicide because of work issues. In every state, American homes are foreclosed and people put on the street. At Citigroup, 50,000 people will lose their jobs. Yet in the boardroom of Citigroup, spending $400 million to put a name on stadium seems like a good idea. The Treasury Department, which forced Citigroup corporate executives to give up their private jet, should also demand that Citigroup cancel its $400 million advertisement at the Mets field and instead begin to repay their debt to the taxpayers," stated Kucinich.

The full text of the letter follows:

The Honorable Timothy Geithner