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BROOKLYN     Press Release Main Page


For Immediate Release: March 17, 2009

U.S. Taxpayers To Pick Up Tab for Barclays' Vanity Project

AIG Bailout to Fund Barclays' Naming Rights Deal
For Bruce Ratner's Proposed Barclays Center Arena

BROOKLYN, New York — On Sunday troubled insurance giant AIG revealed the counterparties who benefited from the $170 billion taxpayer bailout of the besieged company. $400 million of that bailout would go to a proposed basketball arena, which, if it’s ever built, is already slated to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies funded by New York City, New York State and federal taxpayers, and is reliant on New York state’s use of eminent domain to seize homes and businesses.

Britain’s Barclays Bank was the beneficiary of some $8.5 billion worth of the AIG bailout by US taxpayers. Barclays has a $400 million naming-rights deal for Forest City Enterprises developer Bruce Ratner’s proposed $1 billion Barclays Center basketball arena, the centerpiece of the company’s floundering Atlantic Yards development plan in Brooklyn, New York.

Thus the American taxpayer is, in essence, picking up the tab for a British bank’s $400 million vanity project.

“Why are TARP bailout funds flowing through AIG to a British bank to Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises for a billion dollar arena in Brooklyn? Why are federal taxpayers being forced to pay for Barclays' marketing scheme? There is no justification for it, especially as TARP funds are supposed to spur banks to start lending again, rather than prop up activities such as the Barclays-Ratner boondoggle,” said Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn spokesman Daniel Goldstein. “The federal bailout of AIG was not intended to assist Barclays in hyping its brand in Brooklyn, or to help them slap their logo, for 20 years, no less, on a basketball arena already heavily dependent on city, state and federal subsidies.”

In February there was a political and public uproar over Citigroup’s $400 million naming rights deal for the nearly completed home of the New York Mets—Citi Field—because the financial firm had received $45 billion worth of the TARP bailout.  At the time the New York Daily News reported that the House Financial Services Committee Chair, Congressman Barney Frank, said that:

...Naming rights deals will be off limits for firms taking taxpayer money in the next $350 billion installment of bailout money for banks and financial institutions.

"I'm confident you won't see anything like that going forward," in the next bailout round
, Frank said.
Unlike Citi Field, the proposed Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn has not even broken ground.

“When Congressman Frank learns of yet another instance of fungible bailout funds going towards a lucrative naming rights deal, we expect that he will not be pleased and will quickly take action,” Goldstein concluded.




DEVELOP DON'T DESTROY BROOKLYN leads a broad-based community coalition
fighting for development that will unite our communities instead of dividing and destroying them
DDDB is 501c3 non-profit corporation supported by over 4,000 individual donors from the community.
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