FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 18, 2009
$400 million more taxpayer money for Ratner???
Council Member James calls on Barclay’s Bank to cancel naming rights deal with Ratner
(Brooklyn, NY) “Staggering, that is the only word for it,” said Council Member Letitia James upon hearing that controversial Barclay’s Bank is receiving money from the federal bailout of insurance giant AIG. Some of the bailout money would likely be used to meet Barclay’s $400 million commitment to purchase the “naming rights” to Forest City Ratner’s proposed 18,000 seat arena in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
“Here we have a private bank trying to use taxpayer money to put their name all over a privately-held sports arena. That is clearly not what President Obama intended the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) to accomplish. TARP is supposed to get banks lending to small businesses and homeowners, not to bail out a billionaire and his stalled mega-development,” said Council Member James.
“Taxpayers are more willing to support efforts to free up lending for critical needs but they will not and should not support frivolous naming rights deals like this one. Deals like this put the legitimacy of all future public spending in jeopardy, as well as jeopardize public trust in the government’s commitments of public money to this point. This is why I’m calling on Barclay’s and Ratner to terminate their deal regarding naming rights for the proposed arena. There should not be even the slightest hint that taxpayer money will be used to enrich a private developer and a British bank,” said Council Member James.
AIG has earned public scorn for doling out over $165 million in bonuses to employees after receiving $170 billion from the federal government.
Contact: Amyre Loomis at (718) 260-9191