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Congressmen call for end to Citi’s naming-rights deal with Mets

File this under "this ain’t gonna happen," as two opponents of public financing of sports facilities call for the Obama administration to demand Citigroup withdraw its naming-rights deal with the New York Mets.
Reps. Dennis Kucinich and Ted Poe sent a letter to new Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, demanding he and the Obama Administration call on Citigroup to drop its $400-million naming-rights deal for the new Mets ballpark.

Citigroup is one of several U.S.banks receiving governmental assistance in recent months, and criticism of the naming-rights deal came immediately when the Wall Street bailout was announced. Both Citigroup and the Mets say the naming-rights deal will stand: Citigroup says advertising in this manner is key if the financial-services giant is to remain viable in the marketplace.

But Kucinich, who held hearings last year on the tax-exempt bonding for the new Mets and Yankees ballparks, is continuing his criticism of the deals despite attracting little attention with his hearings. And he’s promising more hearings, which will be sure to attract every manner of ballpark-financing opponent while somehow overlooking defenders of these business deals. He’s using the taxpayer bailouts as a way to revisit the issue.

"It’s a whole new ball game," Kucinich told USA Today. "And it’s a ball game that doesn’t allow for corporate privateers to continue to ransack the public domain, and that’s exactly what’s going on here."

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