The WSJ reports that under political and financial pressure, Citigroup is exploring its options for getting out of its stadium naming deal with the Mets.
In a statement Monday, Citigroup said that "no TARP capital will be used" for the stadium -- referring to government funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. But as it revisits the pact, Citigroup is essentially acknowledging that the volatile political climate could make it untenable for the bank to proceed with the deal.
The Mets deal was attacked last week as an example of misplaced spending by financial institutions that needed bailout funds. Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D., Ohio) and Ted Poe (R., Texas) wrote to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Wednesday, asking him to push Citigroup to dissolve the Mets deal.
...I swear, if they end up naming it "Obama Field" I'm not going to be responsible for my actions.That should strike fear into the hearts of regulators. But the Crank can probably rest easy, as Obama has enough policial savvy to not entrust his brand to an organization with the Mets' track record of...um..intermittent success. Besides, he's a White Sox fan.
Clusterstock is having a contest to name the stadium upon Citi's pullout. But they are missing some obvious choices:
--"Paulson Park" - Here is an opportunity for our new banking overlords to show some bipartisanship while simultaneously immortalizing the TARP and how it forced pullout of Citigroup. And alliteration is always nice.
--"Geithner's Folly" - This would follow the precedent set by the Pittsburh Pirates' old stadium Forbes Field, which was nicknamed "Dreyfuss's Folly" when it first opened due to its (then) out-of-the-way location. And as the head of the NY Fed charged with regulating banks such as Citigroup, Geithner's prior job performance is in fact connected to the circumstances that are forcing Citigroup to pull out - why not memorialize the connection? I do like the ring of the name, anyway.
--"Helicopter Ben's Launching Pad" - This name is the most speculative, as we don't yet know whether the new ballpark will prove homer-friendly like the park initially nicknamed the "Launching Pad," Atlanta's old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. In fact, preliminary speculation is that it will play in the opposite fashion. But it would be the ultimate (albeit wordy) tribute to our true overlord.