AIG Bailout to Fund Barclays' Naming Rights Deal For Forest City Enterprises' Proposed Barclays Center Arena
On Sunday 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.
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 Newsreported 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, meaning the deal is reversible.