There is much hulabaloo circling Citigroup and the New York Mets. Two Congressman are making trouble for both by arguing Citigroup is using the bailout money they received towards their partnership with the Mets. Citigroup has long defended this.
Just today, Citigroup issued a report showing exactly where the funding has gone. Here is the report as reported by CNN.com:
- $36.5 billion in loans and other commitments during the fourth quarter of 2008, which included making $1 billion in student loans and $2.5 billion in business and personal loans. The bank also said it expanded credit lines and opened new accounts for credit cardholders.
- The bulk of the TARP funds – $27.5 billion to be exact – was earmarked towards the housing market. Citigroup said it spent $10 billion on mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a move aimed at loosening up frozen credit markets, according to the bank.
- $8.2 billion was earmarked for making actual mortgage loans to families and individuals with good credit histories.
There are other reports around the internet that Citigroup is considering getting out of the 20-year agreement with the Mets. I wish them luck. It is a legally binding contract and there are bound to be serious penalties they would have to pay in order to get out.
The Mets had this to say on Bloomberg.com:
“In conversations this morning, Citi reinforced that they will honor our legally binding agreement.”
This leads me to believe should Citigroup want out, the Mets will fight it. I cannot argue with them. They have a contract that must be honored.
Consider this: Citigroup is not the sole investor in “Citi Field”. There are numerous others.
What about those who have invested in selling merchandise with the stadium name on it, such as replicas or t-shirts? They could lose thousands of dollars. This includes the little guys who sell shirts outside of stadium grounds, like on ebay and amazon.
If the Mets were to get new investors, it would cost thousands of dollars to remove the name “Citi Field” from all over the stadium. Would it even happen in time for opening day? Probably not! This could be tied up in the courts for who knows how long.
I agree, to a point, with Bill Price over at the New York Daily News. He had this to say about Manny Ramirez coming to the Mets and what it would do:
“With all the attention Ramirez will bring to the Mets (including possible playoff and World Series Games) Citigroup and Citi Field will get that much more exposure. It can only help Citigroup, and in turn, help them make more money and therefore pay some money back to the government.”
I do not want Manny here. But he does seem to be a solution. Even I cannot argue with that. Price highlights something nobody else has: they can pay some money back. It’s possible. If Citigroup is able to recover enough, some funding can be returned to the government. It is both right and fair.
When I heard about Citigroup becoming a sponsor for the stadium, I was ready to open an account there to show support. However, it is a little pricey for a student who hardly makes enough money to even have a bank account there or anywhere else.
I think the government is just overcrowded with Yankees fans. Maybe Congress should focus on those who have not been paying their taxes.