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BANKERS ON A BINGE
Don’t tell me that bankers are hopeless stiffs who don’t know how to get down. Not only can the Wall Street crowd boogie with the best, but they’ve got the money to party large!
Take Bank of America. At the recent Super Bowl, this bunch of bankers didn’t just throw a tailgate party, they hosted a five-day carnival extravaganza in special tents set up next to the stadium. The good-time affair offered 850,000 square feet of what ABC News called “sports games and interactive entertainment activities for football fans.” What fun!
Uh, wait – isn’t this the bank that just got a multi-billion dollar bailout from you and me in January? Well, yes. And less than a month later they’re hosting a Super Bowl Blowout? Yes. What did this thing cost? Well, Bank of America won't tell us. The NFL, however, conceded that was a “multi-million dollar” event. Indeed, the tents alone ran more than $800,000.
Meanwhile, Citigroup announced that it’s a sporting sort of corporation, too. Despite losing billions of dollars last year, firing 5,000 employees, and getting $345 billion from us taxpayers, the bank now says it intends to blow $400 million for the right to put its name on the New York Mets’ new baseball stadium.
Not to be outdone, Morgan Stanley, recipient of a $10 billion taxpayer bailout last fall, showed that it can rise above hard times. Late in January, its top bankers gathered with clients for a lavish three-day confab at the Breakers, a five-star oceanfront resort in sunny Palm Beach. These bankers, too refused to reveal the price of their outing, but they did report that they’d gotten a discounted room rate. Only $400 a night, per person.
Let’s hope they gave a champagne toast to us taxpayers.
“Bailed Out Bank of America Sponsors Super Bowl Fun Fest,” www.abcnews.com, January 2, 2009.
“Citi and Mets say stadium deal on,” www.bbc.co.uk, January 4, 2008.