SBD/Issue 129/Facilities & Venues

Congressman Wants U.S. Treasury To Help End Barclays-Nets Deal

Yormark Doesn't Think
Pascrell Understands Project
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) yesterday asked the U.S. Treasury Department to "step in to end" the Nets' 20-year, $400M arena entitlement sponsorship with Barclays Bank because the company "indirectly received federal bailout funds," according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. Pascrell in a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said it is "appropriate for the U.S. to request that Barclays cancel this naming-rights agreement" because AIG, which received $170M in TARP funds, paid the bank $8.5B. Pascrell in an interview said, "The bailout money was never anticipated to be used to put your name on a sports arena. The circus is over. The taxpayer has to be protected. I’m more outraged about this than the AIG bonuses." Construction has yet to begin on the Nets' planned Barclays Center arena, part of Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards development, and Pascrell said, "A shovel hasn’t been put into the ground, the agreement has an escape clause and no money has been exchanged." Pascrell indicated that he would "consider legislation 'as a last resort' if Geithner cannot persuade Barclays to drop out." Nets CEO Brett Yormark in a statement said, "I can understand the congressman’s interest in keeping the Nets in New Jersey, but I do not think he understands fully what this project means in terms of jobs and housing and the benefits for the entire region." Barclays declined comment (N.Y. TIMES, 3/24). Pascrell in the letter to Geithner also said, "I believe that any further payments of taxpayer money ... be conditioned on the cancellation of any stadium or arena naming-rights agreements that may be in place" (Bergen RECORD, 3/24).

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