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