After two congressmen from Ohio and Texas joined calls for financial giant Citigroup to nullify its $400 million naming rights contract for the Mets’ new stadium, House representatives from Queens and the rest of the metropolitan area criticized the idea.
U.S. Reps. Joseph Crowley (D−Jackson Heights), Anthony Weiner (D−Forest Hills), Gregory Meeks (D−Jamaica), Yvette Clark (D−Brooklyn), Eliot Engel (D−Bronx) and Steve Israel (D−Hauppauge) all signed a Feb. 10 letter calling on U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to ignore the request made by U.S. Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D−Ohio) and Ted Poe (R−Texas) to either force Citigroup to dissolve the deal or give back the billions in federal bailout funds it received last year.
“We believe the principle of the sanctity of a contract, once it has been signed, is very important,” the congressmen wrote, noting the Citi Field contract was signed years before the corporation sought federal relief. “Any attempt to cancel the deal would have broader implications on the local communities’ economic development, which is tied to the naming rights deal.”
Engel said there are numerous other stadiums in the country licensed by corporations that received bailout money, including JP Morgan Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz., Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. and Citizens Bank Park and the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.
The calls to rename Citi Field began in November, when state Assemblymen Vincent Ignizio (R−Staten Island) and City Council Minority Leader James Oddo (R−Staten Island) suggested it to Mets General Manager Omar Minaya, Chief of Operations Jeff Wilpon, Citigroup Chairman Win Bischoff and city Economic Development Corp. Chairman John Chalsty.
Citigroup and the Mets have indicated they intend to uphold the contract, which pays $20 million a year for 20 years.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.
©2009 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.