January 27th, 2009
09:41 AM ET
3 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. Obama 2.0

    STOP THEM. We are sick and tired of being sick and tired of the clowns wasting our money.

    January 27, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. LLT

    Interesting that Senator McCain is talking so much when former CEO John Thain was one of his top economic advisor and was in line for a top economic position if in the unfortunate event he was elected.

    The nonsense that the Republicans and their ill informed supporters are spouting about only 1/3 of the money will be spent this year is based on a report looking at only 25% of the money!!

    January 27, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. john

    call it what you want Rick but these corporations need to be looked at in detail. They are blatantly spending money that is not backed by gold at roecord pace. We need some transparency for a change..

    January 27, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  4. Just my opinion

    Romney2012, the money for the inauguration did not come out of your pocket...unless of course you donated! Get over yourself. At least Obama was trying to include as many "regular people" as possible in an event that is usually reserve for the rich!

    January 27, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. Mike

    If these companies can afford private jets, why do they need a bailout in the first place? And doesn't Saudi Arabia own most of Citigroup anyways???

    January 27, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  6. matt

    If I were CitiGroup and Geithner called me even mentioning the words stricter oversight or anything of that nature, I would SERIOUSLY start laughing at the guy and say, when you feel that it is appropriate for you to pay your taxes like every other American, then you can call me and we can talk about strict oversight....heck, I'll even fly to meet you somewhere in our new $50mil corporate jet.

    January 27, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. Emily

    I think when Guantanamo is closed to terrorists, the greedy CEO's should take their place.

    January 27, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. matt

    Daniel in Atlanta...public criminal charges...really, you idiot, you literally have NO clue what you are talking about. Maybe we should have a criminal trial for the co-worker that hurt my feelings last week too

    January 27, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. Tyrone Brown

    Someone has to hold these institutions responsible for their actions. I say BRAVO! to President Obama and his administartion for sending out the signal to "straighten up and fly right."

    BRAVO!

    Tyrone Brown
    Proud Obamacrat
    Seattle, Washington

    January 27, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. Rob Kole

    Plane was to be paid for by selling older planes, new plane cost less to run uses less fuel makes less polutition.

    Obama worrying about spending $50 million of non-goverment money but not worried about spending $850 billion.

    Something out of whack here.

    January 27, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. matt

    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.

    BUT $170MIL in his Inaug was the best use of $ right now?
    I LOVE OBAMA LIES & WANT MORE IN 2012

    January 27, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  12. Bill / California

    This is totally ridiculous. Why is it the Big Three were grilled and grilled over every little bit of bad spending they made when they were asking for $ 30b, but the same wasn't done to the bank CEO's who collected significantly more from TARP? When they were done grilling the Big Three on why they took private jets, maybe they could have grilled Citigroup, who last month collected more from the government than the entire Big Three combined, as to why they not only spent $ 50m on this private jet, but are going ahead with a deal that requires them to pay $ 20m per year simply for the naming rights to the New York Mets new ballpark, part of which was publicly funded.

    January 27, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  13. Bob from Pittsburgh

    City bank is owned by the Saudis, am I correct?

    January 27, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. Bailey

    But the 150 Million+ for Inaguration was a wise investment?

    January 27, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  15. Michael B

    SO let me get this straight, Citigroup, who purchased this jet 2 years ago, and would lose millions if they backed out, are being pressured to do just that? Is the Obama administration ignoring the fact that this will replace 2 other jets, which will be sold for profit, and are each a lot less fuel efficient?
    This is just part of Obama's stage show, nothing else.

    January 27, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. ken

    CITI should expand their Video Conferencing capability instead of using corporate jets to get people to meetings. (Or vacations in playland.)

    January 27, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  17. ConsiderThis, FL

    Shana, Chicago: I completely agree with you. It's obvious that wealthy people are oblivious to the realities that most Americans are suffering through. It's a crying shame that the President has to tell a CEO that buying a $50 mm jet is not the wisest use of cash – the American people's cash. If they have $50 mm to buy a luxury jet, then why in the hell did they receive $45 billion of our tax dollars? GREED AND ABUSE OF POWER got us into this mess and the OPPOSITE of GREED AND ABUSE OF POWER is what's going to get us out. If corporate executives can't do the right thing – then tax the hell out of them!

    January 27, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  18. California Gold

    Thank God we have the media scrutinizing these financial wizards who are claiming poverty to Congress. These excesses are going to be the noose that hang them.

    January 27, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  19. vincent - phoenix

    @ Romney 2012
    Obama and cronies would have to first try themselves; I'd like to see a reasonable justification for the $170M inaug party….
    - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

    Try the right wing media pushed a slanted story until the the right wing OWNED main stream media picked up the story line of 170 mil. The REAL story is that 'they' included the cost of security in the total to inflate the #. Bush's 42 mil DID NOT have security detail included.

    But the larger point is... if you are so willing to focus on and BELIEVE something so trivial when there are so many MORE important items (plus push Romney for 2012), then we already KNOW you will never view anything Obama accomplishes objectively. period.

    The good news for you is, you will never see this reply as CNN NEVER allows my stuf out of moderation while propagndists like realityking roam free.

    January 27, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  20. FreeNLovIt

    I was on my way home when I heard on the radio, that in Washington, the government accidentally deposited 150K into a couple's bank account. This couple cashed it and moved to Florida. The government FOUND them and JAILED the couple. Why is the bar so high for tax-paying citizens and so low for others? Shouldnt they give you a few warnings first or let you go since this is your first time?

    January 27, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  21. Big Ed

    When a company / bank / industy does this after we triy to help bail them out... go get our money back and let the business die on the vine! They do not deserve the taxpayers help, they deserve an all expense paid vacation to the grey-bar hotel...three hots and a cot with a roomate looking for love!

    January 27, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  22. geecee

    Romney – get your facts straight. Much of the money for the Obama inauguration was donated. Bush's $42M was his second inauguration and there wasn't much excitement about it, as we all know! Stop bringing up Bush, you don't want to do that. He is responsible for the mess we are in right now and well into the future!

    January 27, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  23. adon09

    Congress should ask for OUR money back and let them fail!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 27, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  24. Scott Tucson

    And why can't Nancy Pelosi fly commercial from DC to CA like the rest of us?

    January 27, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  25. Dems be dopes

    The Gov't should remove CEO's from private companies?

    Socialism 101, but we knew that when we were dumb enough to elect
    Obamo.

    January 27, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
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