January 27th, 2009
09:41 AM ET
6 months ago

Treasury presses Citigroup not to buy $50 million jet

The Obama administration pressed struggling Citigroup to reverse course on its plans to purchase a $50 million corporate jet.
The Obama administration pressed struggling Citigroup to reverse course on its plans to purchase a $50 million corporate jet.

(CNN) – The Obama administration pressed struggling Citigroup to reverse course after a Treasury Department official called the company Monday and "told them it was unacceptable" to accept delivery of a new $50 million corporate jet.

The move comes as new Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner tries to quickly bring more accountability and oversight to the much-maligned TARP program he now oversees. Under that program, Citigroup has already received some $45 billion in government bailout funds, which is why a New York Post report about the new jet sparked outrage.

Related: Citi cancels jet plans

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday the President believes private jets aren’t “the best use of money at this point" with America facing a financial crisis.


Filed under: Treasury
soundoff (126 Responses)
  1. Terry

    Our business "leaders" are notably absent in the ability to lead. A good leader senses the problems and obstacles of the moment, adjusts to them, and leads his or her around them or through them to the desired goal. Our current crop of CEOs and their highly paid toadies seem to have enormous egos and very high self-esteem, despite the fact that THEY led us into this economic mess when THEY could have prevented it.

    It is unfortunate that their self-esteem is based on their titles rather than their accomplishments.

    January 27, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  2. Lu

    Ver simple, you take the jet, give us back our money.....

    January 27, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  3. Jeanette Watts

    That's why I have severe reservations about bailouts. As soon as corporations have money, they go back to being just as irresponsible. If/when we give money to the auto industry, are they going to STOP building SUVs and start building Smarts and other fuel efficient vehicles? Are they going to do some research into alternative fuels and increasing fuel efficiency? Why do I doubt it?

    January 27, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  4. Karen in Missouri

    YES!! It's a shame that our government has to use it's influence to more or less help manage these failing companies - I guess you could say it's a nasty job but someone has to do it!! But with corporate greed totally out of control, it's about time someone talks sense into them. Citigroup - it's not about YOU, it's about US!

    January 27, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. JC

    What a joke our government has become!

    January 27, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  6. Moe, NY

    It certainly is "unacceptable" to accept delivery of a $50 million corporate jet. Corporate Executives need to get over themselves. There is no reason they cannot use the same means of transportation as the rest of America. I want accountability for every penny given to these banks. "Outrage" is an understatement!

    January 27, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. ken

    That is unacceptable... they're struggling and they are getting a $45 billion dollar government bailout but they think it's alright to spend $50 million on a plane. Where is the accountability? Seriously, where?

    January 27, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. kbruegg

    Pure and simple it is the greed and self-indulging attitude of these CEO's that have led to this crisis we are in. Willing to live on millions of other peoples dollars while they then fire thousands to save more money for what? Bigger summer houses, new boats and planes. Criminals they are.

    January 27, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  9. RJN

    America needs to restore consumer confidence in order to do so real "Change" needs to happen.
    1)The companies receiving bailout money need the current exec's to resign in order to receive any money at all. The exec's could not be doing a good job if they need bailout money. In the case of BOfA they should not have taken any money since they said they had no financial problems at the time!!!! Shame on them!!!!
    2) Every penny needs to be accounted for.
    3) The new exec's need to be paid based on the companies performance not on a contract.
    When the American people see the high end are being held responsible for their actions confidence can be restored until then we will just see it as an open ATM for these companies stealing our money!!!

    January 27, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  10. RK

    Finally an administration with some guts. Why should my money be used to buy a jet for the company big rigs when others are losing their jobs?

    January 27, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  11. MK

    Hey Gibbs, "the best use of money at this point", that's an understatement. That's MY money they used to buy the jet and no one is asking me what they can use it for, no one asked me if they could use my money at all.

    The best "bail out" right now would be if DC handed each and every AMERICAN 200,000, tax free dollars and see if we can get the economy going again. I bet we can. If we can print the money to bail out corporate America then we can print the money to bail out the population of the country.

    January 27, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  12. Noah

    These knuckelheads in Congress who voted for this abominable bailout are getting what they deserve. There is no accountability anymore. If we are to believe that this is the worst economy since the Great Depression, as Obama has said many times, and that we need to act immediately to try and end it, then please tell me why Obama and the Dems are only going to use less than one-third of the $1 trillion this year? This is a farce. It is a bid to get re-elected already. He is going to use the majority of the money in 2011 and 2012 when he is ripe for re-election so that more voters get bailouts right before they vote to reward the guy who gave them the bailouts. It is a shameful thing

    January 27, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  13. pjartco

    Everyone understands that the economy is in crisis, and banks, especially those that have recieved bailout money must economize. I just wonder how much of this "getting tough" by the government is window dressing. This plane was ordered in 2005, and is almost built. Which means that Citibank has already paid for a good portion of the plane. They will have to forfeit some, if not all of that money. Plus, they were going to sell old planes to pay for part of this purpose. They will now keep their older, less efficient planes, which will cost them more money. Selling their planes and using public flights might not be an answer either. Don't forget, you only get really low airfares when you book far in advance. When a situation arises that causes executives to have to go somewhere tomorrow, getting commercial air tickets will be quite costly.

    January 27, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  14. Tom in Delaware

    Where's the Oversight Committee that Pelosi is supposed to appoint???

    January 27, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  15. Frost

    take the money back.. 50 million to the American people and let it serve as a lesson to any other big company wanting a bailout..

    abuse it and crash and burn.. just like the new jet can do

    January 27, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. al in memphis

    This sounds like something the American people would do if they had a voice in government– maybe now we do. If the financial institutions are spending money like this when time are bad, what did they do when things were good.

    We still want to know where all that money ($350 billion) has gone?

    January 27, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  17. Daniel, Atlanta, GA

    Hello? Is anybody home? Where has the common sense gone in America? I think Mr. Obama and Congress need to have public criminal trials for corporations that misuse public bailout funds! Congress, please hold criminal trials for the bankers, government officials, and Wall St fat cats who show no regard for the suffering that they have caused the American people! Put a few of these people in jail like what was done with the Enron cronies!

    January 27, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  18. Rick in WA

    On the other hand, this is just the beginning of government micromanagement of corporations. This will fail.

    January 27, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  19. Nicholas

    I'm glad they were called on it. But this is ridiculous. When you give money to them, you should dictate how they spend it. They need to have a plan. You never hand someone a blank check.

    January 27, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  20. Don in Albuquerque

    Time for the American people to say I want my money back.

    January 27, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  21. Briana the college student

    this bailout to the banks was a big mistake. Now we are seeing it.

    January 27, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  22. ken

    We give them billions of dollars and people are concerned about 50 million? Aren't we missing the bigger picture here that throwing trillions of dollars at these failing companies is a waste of tax payers money? That and if they don't take the plane, they'll still have to waste our money on a multi million dollar fee to cancel their contract. They bought this plane 2 years ago, they can't just break a contract willy nilly. If they pay the fee, then that's a waste of money. If they take the plane, they'll at least have something to show for the $50 million dollars.

    January 27, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. Katy

    now the banks are raising the interest on credit cards, etc. They use common's American tax $$ to put more burden on American.

    Obama's Treasury department must look into this. The interest $$ they collect from us will use for more luxury expenses and bonuses for crook CEO. I lost my 401K & saving, can't retire now and must work to pay tax and making crooks rich. Can we call it is fair?

    January 27, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  24. joeb

    If anyone really believes that these folks (and other corporations) are going to change their ways, they're dumber than I am.

    January 27, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. cnnnewser

    What on earth did the Bush people do with that money – and why is Citigroup being so irresponsible?
    This makes no sense.

    January 27, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
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