September 28, 2012

Noticing New York Public Comment At Today’s MTA Board Meeting On the Subject Of MTA’s Devoting Public Assets To Advertising

Noticing New York

Following up on three Noticing New York articles on the subject I appeared at today’s MTA board meeting and gave comment about revisions reportedly under consideration by the MTA to revise its policies about how freely its public assets are used to promote or promulgate questionable or embarrassing messages the MTA might not want to be seen as implicitly endorsing.

I was the first of nine speakers this morning, eight of which spoke about the subject of advertising. The other, in a wheelchair, spoke about accessibility of the system to the wheelchair-bound. The subject of the use of the MTA system’s assets for undesirable advertising had been brought to the fore and covered in the press because Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative won a case against the MTA wherein the MTA was recently judicially ordered to run ads from her organization that include anti-Arab slurs and tell subway riders to “Support Israel” in the Middle East conflict. I have made the point in Noticing New York that the MTA’s very costly devotion of assets in the promotion of “Barclays” is comparably, and in several ways more, embarrassing.

The MTA is more intricately involved in the Barclays promotion and, given the record, its complicity is easier to argue and seem to have been more premeditated.

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Posted by eric at 10:45 AM

September 27, 2012

Promoting Obfuscation of What Government Does and Doesn’t Do To Give The Private Sector (Including Ratner) More Credit

Noticing New York

The main problem when government gets enmeshed in advertising, lending out public assets as vehicles for corporate advertising and corporate promotion, is that it obfuscates what government does and doesn’t do.

Notwithstanding how promotional advertising images are seemingly plastered everywhere in the transit system these days, anyone who thinks that corporate advertising and promotions pay for any substantial portion of government services isn’t keeping track of their decimal points. The public pays for virtually all of what government provides; in the MTA’s case that's more than 99%.

Yet the MTA bends over backwards to accommodate the 1%.

. . . Does the MTA endorse promotion of the Barclays Bank, virtually synonymous with the LIBOR scandal in connection with which the MTA, amongst other New York government entities, may be suing Barclays for losses? The MTA has deeply subsidized the Ratner/Prokhorov “Barclays” Center basketball arena that promotes that bank’s name and the MTA has named two subway hub stations in Brooklyn after the bank. No! The MTA says that it similarly disavows such promotion of the bank. . . .

. . . But, if that’s so, why does MTA Chairman Joe Lhota show up at the heavily promotional hoopla event celebrating the opening of that “Barclays” Center arena?

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Photo: Tracy Collins

Posted by eric at 10:22 AM

The Barclays Center Gets Illuminated By The Illuminator: "World's Most Crooked Bank"

Atlantic Yards Report

From Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, The Barclays Center Gets Illuminated By The Illuminator: last night the Illuminator came to the side of the Barclays Center and projected several messages.

Below is one of them, declaring the scandal-enmeshed Barclays, which bought arena naming rights, "World's Most Crooked Bank."

Go to DDDB for the rest, including "Eminent Domain Abuse" and "Occupy."

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Posted by eric at 10:14 AM

September 24, 2012

Clarification From MTA: Despite Furnishing Assets, Subsidy And Subway Station Renaming Transportation Agency Disavows Promotion of Barclays Bank

Noticing New York

[MTA spokesman Aaron] Donovan furnished me with this MTA disavowal of the ongoing media-saturating promotion of Barclays Bank resulting from the MTA’s furnishing of is resources:

The MTA does not endorse the viewpoints expressed in any of the advertisements posted in the system. That applies to issue-oriented advertisements such as the one you mentioned, and it applies to advertisements that propose commercial transactions.

So the promotion of the LIBOR scandalous bank is not endorsed by the MTA, even though the huge amount of promotion the bank is getting is greatly facilitated by the substantial assets the MTA furnished, some would say carelessly, for this purpose.

What I didn’t realize was that at almost the very moment that I was exchanging my communications with Mr. Donovan concerning the MTA’s disavowal of the promotion, MTA Chairman Joe Lhota was arriving that the “Barclays” Center ribbon-cutting event....

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Posted by eric at 1:29 PM

September 20, 2012

Embroiled In Embarrassment of Hosting Controversial Advertisement MTA Considers Banning “Issue Advertising”: What About Barclays LIBOR Scandal?

Noticing New York

You would hardly guess that ads pull so little financial weight when surveying the clamorous melee of advertising cluttering the MTA environment.

Now it turns out that playing prostrate host to advertising can be a headache that’s more than it's worth to the MTA in multiple ways: After objecting and losing in court the MTA has been ordered, on freedom of speech grounds, to run extremely controversial advertisements that, paraphrasing Ayn Rand (of all the gosh-darn times to do so!), equate Arab nations with savages and (of all the gosh-darn times to do so!) instructs New York subway riders to “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
...

Faced with the dilemma of being between this hard-to-stomach place and the court ruling the MTA accedes it must follow, the MTA is now considering having its board adopt a total ban on future issue advertising. Interesting! What does that mean for the MTA’s advertising promoting the Barclays Bank with the “Barclays” Center and the “Barclays” subway stations? Will the MTA now adopt a policy that would have prohibited its current promotion of the LIBOR scandalous British bank? It will at least have to mull over whether whatever policy it adopts should naturally entail such implications.

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Posted by eric at 10:11 PM

September 17, 2012

NY Times Runs 3rd Article Mentioning That, Given Scandal, Promotionally Naming Subway Stations & Arena “Barclays” Is Problematic

Noticing New York

Michael D.D. White follows up on today's City Room article about the MTA selling ad space — and naming rights.

Today the New York Times ran its third article including a mention of an obvious elephant in the media stream world: That promotionally christening of MTA subway stations and the heavily susbisidized Forest City Ratner/Mikhail Prokhorov “Barclays,” the name of the British Bank whose name is virtually synonymous with the LIBOR rate-fixing scandal of which that bank is a big part, could be awkward. See: New Territory for Ads, With a Moving Target, by David W. Dunlap, September 16, 2012.
...

Barclays may, indeed, go out of business but professor Vaidhyanathan’s other “what if” is just a tad off: Barclays has already entered into a £290m ($450m) fine agreement with the United States and Great Britain for manipulating LIBOR rates. Its manipulation is already acknowledged by that agreement and the payment of the fine, but one purpose of the bank’s payment of that fine was to preclude criminal prosecution and conviction of the bank. Nevertheless, Barclays traders and possibly Barclays executives are likely to be criminally prosecuted, possibly convicted, separately.

Notwithstanding that this is the third Times article with a conceding mentioning that the publicly-financed parading of the “Barclays” name is obviously awkward, the sober observance of that fact in three articles is far outweighed by the many more celebratory articles the Times is running about the opening of the new “Barclays” center including the one featured on the front page of its special-edition Sunday Styles Magazine proclaiming Jay-Z in its front-cover caption to be civic-minded for promoting the arena, scandalous history and scandalous name “Barclays” name notwithstanding.

The Times has launched into its promotions without mention of its business relationship with the arena’s developer. Furthermore, the Times’ relentless promotion of the developer/subsidy collector’s Atlantic Yards from its unveiling forward probably tipped the balance for the materialization of a boondoggle that is costly to the public in so many ways. Such being the “Times Effect” on this issue, the clever casualness of the article’s conclusion equating of the naming of the subway transit hubs after “Barclays” with the naming of “Times Square” could be considered somewhat chilling- because there is less coincidence than implied:

Alternately, however, what if the bank and the new name show some staying power? After all, “Times Square” seems to have caught on.

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Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, In Times article on MTA advertising, a willingness to downplay the Barclays taint

The close of a New York Times article today, published online as New Territory for Ads, With a Moving Target:

Professor [Siva] Vaidhyanathan, for one, would like to see some more restraint. He bristled at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center name. “What happens if Barclays is convicted of massive fraud in the Libor scandal?” he asked. “What happens if Barclays goes out of business?” Alternately, however, what if the bank and the new name show some staying power? After all, “Times Square” seems to have caught on.

That's a little pat, isn't it? First of all, the naming rights agreement is only for 20 years. Second, Vaidhyanathan, despite his criticism, was a little generous: Barclays doesn't need to be convicted to be tainted. It's already paid some $450 million in fines.

Posted by eric at 8:22 PM

New Territory for Ads, With a Moving Target

City Room
by David W. Dunlap

Then there are naming rights: for $200,000 a year, the authority has added the designation “Barclays Center” to the name of the Atlantic Avenue stations in Brooklyn. The measure is one part customer service — the new arena by that name is a block away — and two parts marketing, as the arena and stations now carry the name of a giant international financial services company.
...

But revenues come with a cost of their own, suggested Siva Vaidhyanathan, the chairman of the media studies department at the University of Virginia.
...

Professor Vaidhyanathan, for one, would like to see some more restraint. He bristled at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center name. “What happens if Barclays is convicted of massive fraud in the Libor scandal?” he asked. “What happens if Barclays goes out of business?”

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Posted by eric at 10:53 AM

September 14, 2012

The Culture of Cheating: Nets/arena CEO Yormark says "what I'm most proud of is the cultural fit for Barclays" (unmentioned: the LIBOR scandal)

Atlantic Yards Report

An exchange in a 9/11/12 Billboard Q&A, Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark on the Brooklyn Brand, Jay-Z, $1 Billion Building, has some unintended resonance regarding the "culture of cheating" and the elephant in the room: dishonest behavior by Barclays.

A big part of this project is the 20-year naming rights deal with Barclays. How much did it mean to you to get that deal done?
*That's a great question, because when I look back on my career, it's probably one of those top two or three highlights... There were a lot of doubters, but they weren't doubting my ability, they were doubting because of all the planned new buildings in the market... They're like, "you're the last one to get yours, so you're probably going to need some help." They doubted the project, the merits of Brooklyn, lots of different things. And we nailed it. For me, what I'm most proud of is the cultural fit for Barclays.
(Emphasis added)

Tell me about that, it just seems so unlikely.
You can either do it for the money or you can do it for the partnerships, and thankfully, in our case we did it for both reasons. Financially, they made a very appealing offer to us, but more important than the financials is, we just believed in Barclays and Barclays believed in us, and that goes to the highest levels.

Of course, Yormark was talking about commerce, about branding Brooklyn, about mutual promotion.

But think about it: "the cultural fit for Barclays."

If Atlantic Yards, as I've contended, represents the "culture of cheating," then isn't Barclays a perfect fit?

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Posted by eric at 12:35 PM

September 13, 2012

Yes, Barclays Center has logo in place for fly-over view

Atlantic Yards Report

From WCBS's Chopper 880/Tom Kaminski, a flyover photo of the Barclays Center. (Here's the backstory on the roof logo.)

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NoLandGrab: Kinda looks like Brooklyn received a giant George Foreman grill for opening an account with the World's Most Corrupt Bank™.

Posted by eric at 12:16 PM

September 6, 2012

NY Times Report On Public Officials Suing On `Broadening' LIBOR/Barclays Scandal Doesn’t `Broaden' To Mention “Barclays” Center

Noticing New York

In a new article (in today’s print edition) the New York Times has continued reporting about how government officials around the country are “working intensely behind the scenes to build a case for suing the nation’s largest banks” in connection with the LIBOR/Barclays rate fixing scandal. . . .

(See: Banks Face Suits as States Weigh Libor Losses, by Nathaniel Popper, September 4, 2012.)

. . . It’s the second Times article about such government lawsuits. Once again, the article doesn’t report that local New York government lawsuits against Barclays Bank would occur, ironically, just as the New York taxpayers are providing massive subsidy for the promotion of Barclays Bank with the opening of the Ratner/Prokhorov basketball arena to which the “Barclays” name is being affixed.

Click through for more, including a quiz challenging readers to guess the difference between The Times's real estate and sports sections.

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Posted by eric at 12:36 PM

STOCK MARKET: BANKING ON THE BARCLAYS CENTER

mehillo8

If I had $1000 I would not decide to invest in Barclays because after looking at their past history, they have not had huge stock since 2007, and they almost went out of business in 2008.
...

The only positive thing I have found about Barclays is they own the naming rights to the new Brooklyn Nets Arena.

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NoLandGrab: Who needs negatives if that's the positive.

Posted by eric at 11:53 AM

August 31, 2012

Expunging Pacific Street from station? It wasn't announced or even in the contract, but the MTA says it was the practical solution; also, new signage wasn't supposed to go up until the subway entrance opened

Atlantic Yards Report

As former Atlantic Yards point man Jim Stuckey once said, "Projects change, markets change."

Or, perhaps, subway naming plans change.

There's a certain resentment about the substitution of "Barclays Center" for "Pacific Street" in the renaming of Brooklyn's most diverse transit hub.

That's indicated in the "I'm still calling it "Atlantic Av-Pacific St" t-shirt produced by designer Deb Goldstein (interview), highlighted in a series of articles in MetroFocus about different ways to wear Brooklyn pride, including Nets t-shirts.

The MTA today not implausibly suggests that the use of two rather than three names is more efficient.

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Posted by eric at 9:33 AM

August 19, 2012

The New York Times Starts Reporting That New York Government Officials Are Looking At Suing Barclays Bank- Leading to. . . ?

Noticing New York

On an integrative note, Mr. Schneiderman, when running for the office of Attorney General once dangled the promise that elected as attorney general he would investigate the Atlantic Yards mega-monopoly of which the “Barclays” Center is a part (you see he could be conducting two investigations involving "Barclays" name) and that he would act to prevent such eminent domain abuse in the future. Based on those remarks Noticing New York endorsed voting for him. Making that endorsement Noticing New York offered these words:

It really would be a shame if our next New York State Attorney General doesn’t investigate the misconduct of state officials with respect to Atlantic Yards and the associated abuses of eminent domain there and elsewhere in New York State. And it will be a glorious new day if they do investigate and bring the powers of that office to bear on those problems.

...

Asked about Atlantic Yards and projects that abuse eminent domain Mr. Schneiderman said:

Also, the Attorney General can also just conduct investigations into the way these projects are carried out. Because even if they are technically complying with some of the laws I assure you that there are other issues that can be raised by an attorney general willing to take a look aggressively at the way these folks are proceeding.

And,

The idea [of eminent domain] was not to get land so someone can build a megadevelopment for a shopping mall or something else. This is just completely out of balance. Now if I’m in the Attorney General’s office- - * * * The next Attorney General’s ability to move program bills which is part of the Attorney Generals’ function * * * I would move program bills to correct this and I would enforce them rigorously.

The same night Mr. Schneiderman provided this envisioning of his own elected future, Eric Dinallo, another candidate running against Mr. Schneiderman for the same office, said that the recent “complete” change in interpreting eminent domain to allow seizure of one private owner’s land to turn it over to another private owner for that other owner's private benefit was wrong and that he would:

. . . use the appeals and opinions section of the attorney general’s office to issue a revisitation of it. So I think the office now has such prominence both in the state and across the country that I would issue an opinion that would explore this again and disagree with it pretty clearly and then lead that into the signaling of a potential lawsuit around getting the laws changed and in an approach that I think should include returning back to more of a public enterprise condemnation proceeding and not a private taking.

The bottom line is, as most of the candidates in that night’s forum helped make clear: There are things an elected attorney general could now be doing respecting the improprieties reflected in Atlantic Yards and the “Barclays” Center.

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Posted by steve at 10:56 PM

August 17, 2012

NNY: Linking (or not) the Barclays scandal with the Barclays Center, another omission of that logo on the roof, and Jay-Z in a (modified) Barclays Center hat

Atlantic Yards Report

Michael D. D. White, in a Noticing New York column titled With Discordant Synchronicity The “Barclays” Center Will Open At LIBOR Scandal’s Peak: What The New York Times Is And Isn’t Covering, focuses on the Times's inability to link the Barclays LIBOR scandal with that new building opening in Brooklyn, and suggests:

adoption of a phrase that can be included in every Times article mentioning the Center like the “awkwardly-named,” “problematically-named,” or “embarrassingly-named Barclays Center.”

He also point out another instance in which the arena was portrayed without the planned Barclays Center sign on the roof:

This omission of reference to the icky oddness of brandishing the“Barclays” name is going on even as new plans were unveiled to plaster an additional Barclays logo in super giant lettering on the top of the arena. When you look down from a helicopter at Brooklyn, the borough will be prominently branded with the scandal-associated name! (FYI: In the fall of 2009 when the arena design was released to the public and a public information session was held- the closest approximation to to a public comment hearing that took place- the renderings and models shown to the public were all presented WITHOUT this “Barclays” top-side emblazoning. Its possibility was discreetly kept under wraps.)

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Posted by eric at 9:53 AM

August 16, 2012

The Count: In Midst of Barclays LIBOR Scandal, Big NY Times Story About Jay-Z Promotion of Barclays Center Mentions “Barclays” Twice, Scandal Naught

Noticing New York

If you wonder whether I am counting. . . I am.

Yesterday I posted a Noticing New York article observing that the biggest “Barclays” story in the New York Times, in fact the only story that comes up in a long list of stories if you search the Times site for “Barclays” is the Barclays LIBOR scandal. I therefore suggested that the Times start appropriately contextualizing its stories about the “Barclays” Center (the Ratner/Prokhorov basketball arena), opening awkwardly in the very midst of this scandal, by referring routinely to the arena as the “problematically-named Barclays Center” or something else of that informative ilk.

I wondered whether the Times would begin to do so or continue compartmentalizing the news. I didn’t have to wait long for an answer. No sooner had I posted the Noticing New York article than an article went up on the Times site (which was then featured on the next day’s front page) that was about Jay-Z’s promotion of the Ratner/Prokhorov “Barclays” Center: The 1587-word story, ripped straight from the developer-subsidy collector’s press-releases, skillfully managed to mention the arena’s troublesome “Barclays” name only twice and to never mention the scandal associated with that name at all.

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Posted by eric at 10:19 PM

August 15, 2012

With Discordant Synchronicity The “Barclays” Center Will Open At LIBOR Scandal’s Peak: What The New York Times Is And Isn’t Covering

Noticing New York

Good news reporting needs to be integrative. You make reported news events more meaningful to your readership when you acknowledge the broader context in which those events are taking place and how they likely relate to your readership community. Compartmentalization of the news may sidestep cognitive dissonance but it is nonetheless a disservice to anyone wanting to make sense of the world.

I am thinking about this because I am thinking about how the New York Times is reporting the LIBOR interest rate-rigging scandal in connection with which the name “Barclays” has become a new shorthand synonym for how low the ethical standards of Wall Street can sink. How will the Times relate that reporting to what is relevant to residents of its home town, New York City?

A Times Search Centering on "Barclays" vs. One Centering on "Barclays Center"

If you do a search of the New York Times site for the word “Barclays” everything that comes up first is relevant to the scandal notoriously besmirching the bank’s name; see below.
...

Conversely, with the Barclays LIBOR scandal so prominently in news in recent weeks, if you do a 30 day search of the Times site for the term “Barclays Center,” the new Forest City Ratner/Mikhail Prokhorov-owned basketball arena scheduled to open soon, and therefore destined to open contemporaneously with criminal indictments of Barclays traders, you get a list of hype and hoopla articles about the center that make no mention of the darkening cloud of the Barclays scandal; see below.

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Posted by eric at 9:42 PM

August 10, 2012

Barclays Center Logo Goes Here

CBS New York

Bruce Ratner got a billion dollars in tax breaks and subsidies and all we got was the world's lousiest bank as naming-rights sponsor.

Barclays Center as seen from Chopper 880 – Brooklyn, NY – Aug 7, 2012

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Photo: Tom Kaminski/WCBS 880

Related coverage...

NetsDaily, Barclays Roof Logo Going Up

With completion scheduled for the first week of September and Opening Night 50 days away, Brett Yormark announced Thursday that by later this month Barclays Center expects to exceed 10,000 full season seats for the Nets. In addition, 80 percent of the 100+ suites have been sold, and the arena plans to announce its 10th Founding Partner next week.

Posted by eric at 12:20 PM

August 9, 2012

Here Now, Barclays Center's Official Signage

Curbed
by Jessica Dailey

Ladies and gentlemen, it's official. The Barclays Center sign has been erected. The bright blue letters found their place on the rust-colored exterior along Atlantic Avenue yesterday afternoon. Barclays originally agreed to pay $400 million for the 20-year naming deal, which extends to the Atlantic Avenue subway stop, but after the economy tanked, the deal was chopped in half to $200 million.

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Posted by eric at 10:52 AM

August 8, 2012

Barclays Center makes it official

NY Post
by Rich Calder

The future home of the Brooklyn Nets is finally showing off its name.

Construction crews using a crane spent several hours yesterday slapping the name “Barclays Center” along a side Atlantic Avenue entrance to the Nets’ new 18,200-seat arena. The large light-blue letters now cover the arena’s rust-colored, metal façade.

Barclays Bank has a 20-year lease for the naming rights to the arena, which opens Sept. 28 with a concert by rap star Jay-Z, a part owner of the Nets.

The “Barclays Center” name will be featured prominently along other areas outside the arena, including the rooftop and the main entrance at Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.

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Photo: Dana Sauchelli/NY Post

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Barclays Center sign and corporate logo now up on Atlantic Avenue arena facade

Posted by eric at 10:44 AM

August 7, 2012

Occupy Barclays Street Art

HYPERALLERGIC
by Ben Valentine

Bravo!

Earlier this week I was anonymously given images of anti-Barclays street art spotted at the newly coined Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center subway stop in Brooklyn.

As the blurry images show, the work uses the Barclays name and funding of the station to highlight the recent LIBOR fixing scandal and the role of mega-corporations like Barclays in political turmoil throughout the world.
...

Ben Valentine: Why do you risk arrest for this work?

Unnamed Occupier: There is seemingly no mechanism to actually hold too big to fail institutions accountable for their actions. The state sure as hell isn’t doing it. Banks don’t really care if you parade a giant puppet outside their building. They don’t care if you start an intentional community and get off the grid. But they notice when you fuck up their stuff. They notice things that make them look bad, or weak, or foolish (the Yes Men’s Bhopal apology is a really good example of this).

This specific action is pretty low-level and still mostly symbolic, but we’re doing things that put us at risk because they make these institutions understand that they are at risk, and they are going to be held accountable, if not by the state then through other means. Part of our goal is to highlight the divergence between the amount of real risk that we realistically face by performing this small act of civil disobedience, and the nearly nonexistant risk faced by the institutions perpetrating these massive crimes.

Click through for a couple more photos and the rest of the interview.

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Posted by eric at 11:12 AM

August 3, 2012

Brooklyn Soon To Be Home To World's Most Humongous Barclays Logo

Runnin' Scared
by Neil deMause

The indefatigable Norman Oder -- at least, we've never seen him defatigued -- reported yesterday on his Atlantic Yards Report that Brooklyn's new Nets arena is about to get a "honking big" Barclays logo on its roof. This is normal and expected for roofed sports facilities these days (check out the lid on Newark's Prudential Center, for example), except that "honking big roof logo" apparently was never mentioned in the design guidelines that arena builder Bruce Ratner presented to the state in 2006. At the time, the roof was going to be a Frank Gehry-designed green space; now that it's instead a big expanse of white metal, apparently the state Empire State Development Corporation, which owns the arena site and oversees the project, gave the okay for logorifficness.

So, who should care? Aside from condo buyers in the former Williamsburgh Bank building, who are going to have to stare at this thing every time they look out their landmarked windows, it's not likely to make much of a dent on many Brooklynite eyeballs, something that the ESDC cited to Oder as a reason for okaying the deal. Mostly, the only people who will be confronted with this enormous reminder of the stars of the LIBOR scandal will be Google Earth browsers and passengers in passing planes.

Those eyeballs in the sky, however, could mean big money for Ratner. E.J. Narcise, a principal partner at Team Services LLC, which markets naming-rights deals for stadium and arena owners, says that in the sports marketing biz, "rooftop signage became very prominent within the last ten years." And the two things corporate sponsors look for when shopping for roofs are a sizable population center and proximity to a major flight path, both of which the Brooklyn arena has in abundance. Passengers on the left side of LaGuardia-bound flights, in fact, will have a perfect view of the giant not-Nazi-related-at-all-really eagle as they return their seat backs to an upright position.

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Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, That sign/logo on the Barlcays Center roof? "an extremely valuable piece of inventory"

The key is the benefit to Forest City Ratner and, while a naming-rights deal expert didn't put a number on it, he called "an extremely valuable piece of inventory."

And, I'd add, not only is the public not getting any of Barclays' money for that, the benefit to Forest City was never counted in any cost-benefit analysis.

Posted by eric at 11:24 AM

State justifies Barclays logo/name on arena roof, says it complies with "intent" of Design Guidelines (which never mentioned roof signage)

Atlantic Yards Report

There's a honking big Barclays Center name and logo coming on the roof of the new Brooklyn arena, buzzing toward a Sept. 28 opening. But such rooftop signage was never officially approved, disclosed, nor opened to public comment. Nor was it ever permitted in the Design Guidelines on which the state relies.

It's a p.r. victory for Barclays, which, however hammered for its LIBOR manipulations, is implanting itself in Brooklyn, buying naming rights for the Barclays Center arena and getting its name on the adjacent subway station. (Developer Forest City Ratner actually paid for the latter.)

Empire State Development (ESD), the state agency that approved the overall Atlantic Yards project and works hand-in-glove with Forest City, took nearly two business days to provide an explanation for the signage, which was quietly disclosed Monday in a two-week construction look-ahead prepared by the developer.

The signage--including painted letters approximately 230’ x 103’--is kosher, according to ESD's Arana Hankin, because it "comprehensively complies with the intent of the [project design] guidelines that 'establish a framework for the design of the project.'”

Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, confirmed that it would look like the image released in September 2010, below, a year after the second round of project approvals. (Note that the angle merely gives a hint of the logo.)

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Related coverage...

Brownstoner, AYR: State Justifies Barclays Logo and Name on Roof

The name and logo will be painted on the roof. It will not be visible from the street, according to the state agency that approved it, Empire State Development. It will be visible from nearby tall office buildings and aircraft, and aerial news coverage will show it.

Posted by eric at 11:13 AM

July 30, 2012

Farewell Pacific St

My Blog

With the Barclays Center in Brooklyn opening soon, the stadium sponsor went ahead and purchased naming rights for the subway station adjacent to it. Actually, they announced this awhile back, but only recently are the signs in the station slowly beginning to show up and subway maps edited.

So what was once known as the "Atlantic Ave-Pacific St" station will now be called the "Atlantic Ave-Barclays Center" station. Pacific St now joins the list of street names dropped off from station names like Lawrence St (now Jay St-Metrotech), Ely Ave (now Court Sq-23 St) and Newkirk Ave (now Newkirk Plaza... still has "Newkirk" in it though!).

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NoLandGrab: Technically, Forest City Ratner purchased the naming rights to the station. But regardless, we're still calling it Atlantic Ave-Pacific St.

Posted by eric at 11:47 AM

July 29, 2012

Connecting Mayor Bloomberg's endorsement of Scott Brown, his downplaying of the Barclays/LIBOR scandal, and "corporatist privilege" (that connects to "Bankers Gone Wild")

Atlantic Yards Report

Michael D. D. White has been writing up a storm on his Noticing New York blog about Barclays, the LIBOR scandal, and the possibility of local governmental agencies gaining recompense in a lawsuit.

In his latest, he muses about Mayor Mike Bloomberg's surprising announcement that he supports incumbent Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, a Republican, against law professor (and Wall Street critic) Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat:

Come on now! No, it’s pretty clear, Brown’s gun control record is just a contrived cover for Bloomberg’s work to keep the banks unregulated and unaccountable. That probably puts the above point #3 in the lead for the reason that Bloomberg is also so eager to minimize the public’s LIBOR losses.
But maybe it doesn’t make any difference which exactly of those above three reasons explains why Bloomberg is minimizing the possibility of the public’s loses at the hands of Barclays and the other banks, because whether it's "Barclays" (Ratner/Prokhorov) arena boondoggling, Barclays bank president befriending or Barclays Bank LIBOR manipulations, all three of those explanations are probably essentially the same: Bloomberg supports a corporatist privilege for the 1% to manipulate, lie and scheme to scam the 99%.

"Bankers Gone Wild"

In this week's New Yorker, "Financial Page" columnist James Surowiecki wrote Bankers Gone Wild. It's a pretty chilling summary: manipulating LIBOR was easy; banks had much incentive to tell lies; and self-regulation doesn’t work in finance:

The Barclays traders, for instance, sent e-mails casually thanking their colleagues for lying, and sometimes talked with their supervisors about their plans, revealing a culture in which deception was simply part of how things got done. As the behavioral economist Dan Ariely writes in his new book, “The Honest Truth About Dishonesty,” cheating is contagious—when we see others succeed by cheating, it makes us more likely to cheat as well. So when institutions tolerate, and even reward, bad behavior, all that self-regulation gets you is bankers gone wild.

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Posted by steve at 10:41 PM

More On Why Sued-For LIBOR Losses May Be Substantial And More On Figuring Why Mayor Bloomberg Is Minimizing The Public's Loss

Noticing New York

Noticing New York has been covering how various branches of New York state and local government may be suing over losses the tax-paying public has suffered due to the manipulation of the LIBOR rate, how, ironically, those lawsuits may embarrassingly coincide with the opening of the Ratner/Prokhorov basketball arena promotionally named “Barclays” to advertise one of the banks in the thick of the LIBOR scandal most likely to be sued, and how New York Mayor Bloomberg, though he admits he expects the city may be joining these lawsuits, has gone out on a limb to assert that the losses suffered by New Yorkers will be “de minimis,” even though fellow government officials are NOT backing Bloomberg up to assure us that losses will be minimal.– Whew, what a long sentence!– (For starters, see: Thursday, July 26, 2012, “Barclays” Center Opening Pending; Fellow Government Officials Don’t Back Bloomberg Re Minimizing NY Lawsuits Against Barclays Bank.)

...

Here is more about why New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg may be minimizing losses to New York and New Yorkers say (among other ways) through losses to the New York City and New York State pension funds.

Noticing New York has offered three possible theories why Bloomberg might be minimizing:

  1. Bloomberg doesn’t want the LIBOR scandal to cast a pall over the opening of the Ratner/Prokhorov basketball arena promotionally named “Barclays” to advertise the centrally implicated bank whose name is becoming nearly synonymous with the scandal- Under Bloomberg New York City has directed close on to a billion dollars of NYC subsidy into the arena for a net loss in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

  2. Bloomberg is a self-proclaimed friend of Robert E. Diamond, Jr., the former chief of Barclays who recently resigned over the LIBOR scandal.

  3. Mayor Bloomberg is a friend of Wall Street, eager to ignore its excesses and let it continue in its unregulated abuses.

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Posted by steve at 10:36 PM

July 27, 2012

“Barclays” Center Opening Pending; Fellow Government Officials Don’t Back Bloomberg Re Minimizing NY Lawsuits Against Barclays Bank

Noticing New York

Noticing New York earlier covered the fact that Mayor Michael Bloomberg has acknowledged that New York City may be suing Barclays Bank over its rate manipulation in the LIBOR scandal but minimized any possibility that the losses would be significant. Such lawsuits could be relatively contemporaneous with the grand opening of Bloomberg-supported, city-subsidized Ratner/Prokhorov basketball arena that will promote the “Barclays” name. (See: Friday, July, 20, 2012, “Barclays” Center Opening Pending, Bloomberg De-Minimizes Envisioned New York City Lawsuit Against Barclays Bank. Is He Out On A Limb?)

The Noticing New York coverage suggested that Bloomberg might be going out on a limb when he stated, after being briefed on the subject by Mark Page, his budget director, that any losses for which the city might sue would be a “de minimis amount of money.”

At the moment that’s what the mayor has said but other government officials, including the office of John Liu, the city comptroller, aren’t backing Bloomberg up with any similar assessment that city losses will be “de minimis.”

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Posted by eric at 11:46 AM

July 25, 2012

Silly Little Blog Post About Dumb Little Blog Ad: My Excoriation of Barclays Paid-For Name Building Earns More Barclays Spending To Get Its Name Out

Noticing New York

Noticing New York is published on the web via Google Blogger. It's `free' but Google sells advertising, so, for instance, yesterday a Google Blogger advertisement popped up when I published a Noticing New York post. The post (No Sparkle In Barclays’ Bob Diamond: Societal Mores Unmoored, What And Who We Honor Today- That Which We Used To Shun) extensively castigated Barclays Bank (and its former, now resigned-in-disgrace, chief executive Robert E. “Bob” Diamond) for not being inclined to do the right thing by community standards but nevertheless paying to have the 'honor' of having their names prominently appear on things like the “Barclays” Ratner/Prokhorov basketball arena opening in Brooklyn and the (Bob) “Diamond Building” on Colby College’s campus.

It’s scary to think but Google Blogger knows what I am writing about! Something in its algorithms was reading what I wrote and knew I was writing about Barclays. So when I finally finished and posted my excoriation of the bank, what advertisement did Google Blogger pop up for me to see? . . . . It was an ad telling me I should “open an account today” with Barclays!

So much for the `successful publishing’ of my blog post!: Barclays’ lavish spending had done it again!

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Posted by eric at 6:43 PM

July 24, 2012

No Sparkle In Barclays’ Bob Diamond: Societal Mores Unmoored, What And Who We Honor Today- That Which We Used To Shun

Noticing New York

Michael D.D. White recalls a college campus visit with his daughter as a way of making a point about naming rights — and wrongs.

In September of 2009 I found myself visiting the admissions office of Colby College up in Maine. The college representative handling the orientation was expounding to our small group about the unique attributes of a Colby College education. His adjectives and concepts were all rather vague. I wanted to lock it down with some tangible specifics. “Can you give me examples,” I asked, “of individuals graduating from Colby College in whom you can see represented the kind of traits that this kind of special Colby College education imbued them with?”

“Well, there is Doris Kearns Goodwin, the presidential historian,” (indeed, I had already noted the Doris Kearns Goodwin books, including her 2005 “Team of Rivals,” sitting on the bookshelves at the back of the room dedicated to Colby College authors- I was also quite familiar with her as a dependably tapped talking head on subjects presidential for American Experience documentaries and Charlie Rose shows), . . . “And then there’s”- the Colby College representative straightened his spine as if the individual he was about to announce outranked Ms. Goodwin in stature- “Bob Diamond the head of Barclays Bank.” . . .

. . . He smiled. I scowled.

“You know,” I said, “we come from Brooklyn and a lot of people in Brooklyn have a lot of problems with Barclays Bank and its involvement in putting its name on and money into the basketball arena boondoggle project being forced through with eminent domain abuse. We would consider Mr. Diamond’s role in all of that unethical and harmful to the community.” All of this wound up with me having more discussions afterward with the college admission’s representative and with other parents from our small discussion group about the bad things that Barclays was doing . . . The bad things Barclays was doing that were known at the time.

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Posted by eric at 10:34 PM

Revenge of the Megaprojects

Curbed

The blind had previously been spared this affront...

First came the subway signs, then came the protesting t-shirts, now comes a new recording from the automated subway lady! The MTA is plowing forward with the name change of the Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street stop—today the subway voice told us "This is Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center." Next up: podcasts of the old recordings?

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Posted by eric at 8:12 PM

Names, Trains, and Corporate Deals

Why Public Transit Shouldn’t Sell Naming Rights

Boston Review
by Frank Pasquale

The never-ending budget crises of American cities are claiming another victim: public transit. Managers are cutting services and workers. There are longer waits for rides—when they still exist. From the stygian gloom of New York subways to the retro interiors of the Bay Area’s BART trains, public transit appears to be declining as rapidly as the middle class.

The problem has become so dire that even station names are on the table. Transit authorities in Boston, Chicago, and Austin have hired IMG Worldwide to sell their naming rights. (IMG gets a 12 percent cut for its services; apparently the public sector is too depleted to negotiate its own deals.) New York City already shook hands with Barclays Bank, allowing it to christen a massive transit hub in Brooklyn “Atlantic Ave.-Barclays Center.”
...

Barclays also purchased the rights to name the New York Nets’ future home, for more than $300 million. The right to name the subway station next to it cost a mere $4 million, to be paid $200,000 per year for twenty years. There is poetic justice to naming professional sports stadiums after Systemically Important Financial Institutions, to use the Dodd-Frank locution. Both mega banks and mega sports franchises have benefited from sweetheart tax deals, exemptions from antitrust regulations, and other government backing. Both feature immensely overpaid stars.
...

What Barclays now stands for—rapacious financialization and outright fraud—directly offends the values that public transit represents. Perhaps its yearly $200,000 payments can fund two or three union jobs. But if we were really serious about both raising employment and reducing inequality, we would tax our cash-hoarding corporate behemoths, not beg them for ad money.

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Photo: Adrian Kinloch

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Naming-rights deals, suggests law professor, are "transparent efforts by dubious enterprises to buy goodwill by permanently associating themselves with famous landmarks"

Norman Oder does some minor fact-checking...

Actually, Barclays did not buy naming rights to the transit hub. Forest City Ratner, the developer building the arena, did.

Why? They didn't explain publicly, but it was likely part of the renegotiations regarding the naming rights deal for the arena.

New York state (nominal owner of the arena) gave away naming rights to Forest City to sell. Forest City made a deal with Barclays for a reported $300 to $400 million. That was for an arena designed by Frank Gehry, and supposed to open in 2009. Ultimately, Gehry was dropped from the project, the arena was delayed, and the naming rights deal was reduced to $200 million (plus unspecified other payments). Forest City brought Barclays in on the arena bond deal (one carrot) and bought the station naming rights (second carrot).

Posted by eric at 10:41 AM

July 21, 2012

“Barclays” Center Opening Pending, Bloomberg De-Minimizes Envisioned New York City Lawsuit Against Barclays Bank. Is He Out On A Limb?

Noticing New York

With a significant amount of New York City government hoopla about to be unleashed with respect to the opening of the “Barclays” Center (i.e. the Ratner/Prokhorov basketball arena for the Nets) Mayor Bloomberg may be going out on a limb to minimize the story about how NYC could be suing Barclays Bank at pretty much the same time. Baltimore and other municipalities are suing Barclays Bank for its rate manipulation in the LIBOR scandal, but Bloomberg is taking the position that New York, a much bigger city than Baltimore, the financial capital of country and a leader in doing government financing in terms of both scale and complexity is only likely to have “de minimus” losses because of Barclays . . . but Bloomberg is nevertheless envisioning that NYC may very well be participating in lawsuits against Barclays.

The story about the Mayor’s consultation with his budget director Mark Page was on WNYC yesterday evening. Noticing New York is providing WNYC's entire story below since it is not otherwise available on the internet:

Mayor Bloomberg says the city may have lost money due to rate tampering by large banks. But he doesn't believe the losses were large. Mark Page, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, briefed the Mayor this morning on the city's potential exposure. The city has swaps agreements on construction bonds, linked to a key interest rate that may have been manipulated.

Cut to clip of Mayor Bloomberg himself:

“If the rate went down some city debt would be adversely impacted, and some city debt would be favorably impacted. If there are class action suits, we'll join em, but it would be a de minimus amount of money.”

It's the first time the Mayor has spoken on the subject since Barclays Bank admitted it tampered with the benchmark London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR.

Is Bloomberg paying attention to Noticing New York’s inquiries about what government agencies will be suing Barclays? Bloomberg’s quick and dismissive assessment of the lawsuit situation comes just two days after the New York City Housing Development Corporation (“HDC”), a Bloomberg-controlled financing agency and one of the biggest municipal bond-issuing agencies in the country, declined to comment when Noticing New York inquired if that agency would be suing Barclays (quote: “HDC declines to comment on these issues at this time.”)

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Posted by steve at 5:48 PM

July 20, 2012

London Fund-Raisers Put Romney in a Scandal’s Glare

The New York Times
by Michael Barbaro and Nicholas Confessore

First they helped drop an enormous white elephant in the midst of our neighborhoods. Then they grabbed the name of Brooklyn's biggest transit hub. Now they're trying to buy the presidential election.

They were envisioned as low-key, across-the-pond fund-raisers that would allow Mitt Romney to extract campaign cash from expatriates in London by night as he played statesman by day.

But the two receptions that Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, will hold for donors next week during a swing through Europe are turning into an ill-timed public relations headache for him.

Several of the events’ hosts are top executives at banks tied to the interest rate-fixing scandal that is now engulfing London’s financial and political world, linking Mr. Romney, however superficially, to a messy moment in the continuing debate over Wall Street excesses.

The British and American authorities are examining the role of more than 10 banks in the possible manipulation of key interest rates that affected how consumers and companies borrowed money around the world.

The former chief executive and a top lobbyist for Barclays, the bank at the center of the scandal, helped organize a Romney fund-raiser. The former chief executive, Robert E. Diamond Jr., has since withdrawn his name as the event’s co-host. The bank’s lobbyist, Patrick J. Durkin, remains a co-chairman: he has bundled $1.1 million for Mr. Romney from friends and business associates, more than any other lobbyist, according to federal records.
...

But Democrats may be loath to draw attention to Mr. Romney’s donations from big banks like Barclays. Employees of the bank have contributed $34,800 to Mr. Obama and his joint effort with the Democratic National Committee. (Mr. Obama does not allow registered lobbyists to bundle for his campaign.)

This month, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. attended a fund-raiser in Park City, Utah, co-hosted by Mark Gilbert, a top executive at Barclays, who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Mr. Obama’s re-election bid.

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Posted by eric at 11:39 AM

July 19, 2012

“Barclays” Center Opening Pending, Will Empire State Development Sue Barclays Bank?: ESD Says The Question Is Being Reviewed By ESD Counsel’s Office

Noticing New York

As previously covered here, Baltimore and a number of other municipal governments are suing Barclays Bank in connection with its LIBOR benchmark interest manipulations. (See: Saturday, July 14, 2012, Will The Empire State Development Corporation (ESD), The MTA, NYC And New York State Sue Barclays Bank?) It therefore seemed logical for me to wonder whether the state’s Empire State Development agency and other state and local governments in New York would also similarly be suing Barclays.
...

ESD’s press office confirmed to me that the question is in fact “being reviewed by our counsel’s office.” In other words, in that respect they are like the MTA.

I also asked whether ESD would, alongside the MTA, confirm:

• That ESD is similarly outraged about the apparent market manipulation.

and

• That ESD is similarly committed to do everything possible to protect ESD.

The press office’s response was that ESD “cannot comment further at this time.”

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Related content...

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, Testimony Rips Latest Ratner Request for More Atlantic Yards Subsidies

Very few people knew about yesterday's New York City Housing Development Corporation" (NYC HDC) public hearing on $92 million in tax-exempt bonds for the first Atlantic Yards tower. And even less information was available about the building the bonds would fund.

But local activist, lawyer, former state housing official, and Noticing New York blogger Michael D.D. White was at the hearing to give testimony ripping apart Ratner's request for more subsidies based on the history of the Atlantic Yards project to date....

Posted by eric at 11:02 PM

July 17, 2012

Will The MTA Sue Barclays Bank Over LIBOR Rate Manipulation Scandal? MTA Says It Will “Vigorously Pursue All Available Legal Actions”

Noticing New York

In follow-up to my story about which state and city agencies and governments will possibly be suing Barclays Bank in connection with the LIBOR interest rate manipulation scandal and mentioning a long list that are possibilities it is interesting to note that, when contacted, the MTA being on the ball had already given some thought to this subject, enough to have a statement prepared and ready in advance.

Here is the MTA’s comment from MTA Media Liaison Aaron Donovan:

“The MTA has asked its legal counsel to review its options in relation to the LIBOR scandal, and will vigorously pursue all available legal actions. We are outraged about the apparent market manipulation, and will always do everything possible to protect the MTA.”

I have asked the MTA a series of follow-up questions, mostly susceptible to simple YES/NO responses. I will supply readers with the MTA’s response as soon as appropriate.
...

I have also made similar inquiries to other government agencies which probably have reason to sue Barclays (there are quite a few) and am in the process of putting these inquiries to still more. One agency that has yet to provide any response is the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) which, tomorrow, Wednesday at 1:00 PM, is holding a hearing on the first issuance of bonds for the Atlantic Yards mega-monopoly since the issuance of bonds for the Ratner/Prokhorov (“Barclays”) basketball arena. A prompt response from HDC would surely be relevant to that hearing. The Hearing is at 110 William Street. For more information click on the link.

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Posted by eric at 12:49 PM

A Modest Political Proposal

Leslie Gerber

Romney’s campaign is accepting big donations from rich corporations and individuals who stand to gain something from favorable attention. But Obama has something to sell that will in itself assure that favorable attention: naming rights!
...

Likewise, a huge new arena being built in Brooklyn will be known as the Barclays Center. People going to see Barbra Streisand or the Harlem Globetrotters may feel a moment of gratitude to this huge international bank for making the facility possible. But how much more, and more appropriate, attention Barclays would get if it were mentioned as sponsor of the Barclays Department of the Treasury!

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NoLandGrab: Leslie, it's a pretty safe bet that no one is going to "feel a moment of gratitude" for Barclays.

Posted by eric at 11:05 AM

July 15, 2012

Flashback to the groundbreaking: Bloomberg on arena amnesia; Markowitz hyping (now-imprisoned) Kruger; Barclays' (now-departed) Diamond says arena events fit "with the ethos and the values of Barclays"

Atlantic Yards Report

In the wake of a troubling week for Barclays (and a big week for the Nets), Battle for Brooklyn filmmaker Michael Galinsky pulled together a few clips from the March 2010 arena groundbreaking, which have a special resonance.

The first is from Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a supercilious prediction of amnesia: "And for those that say it took a long time to get here, yes it did. But nobody's going to remember how long it took. They're only going to look and see that it was done."

Then, in his mugging manner, Borough President Marty Markowitz hammed it up, introducing "[one of] the most important elected officials ever coming out of Brooklyn, the chairman of the finance committee, Sen. Carl Kruger. Right Carl? The power returned to Brooklyn because of you."

Kruger, of course, was indicted on corruption charges and is now in federal prison.

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Posted by steve at 7:05 PM

July 12, 2012

Did Barclays' Bob Diamond lie to Parliament? "I can't comment," says his former boss

Atlantic Yards Report

The revelations continue regarding Barclays, and especially recently-departed Chief Executive Bob Diamond, the man behind the Barclays Center naming rights deal, and they aren't so flattering.

From today's print New York Times, Parliament Questions Culture at Barclays:

LONDON — During his tenure as chief executive of Barclays, Robert E. Diamond Jr. spoke passionately about creating a strong culture of integrity and trust, a common philosophy that would breed success at the big British Bank. In a speech last year, he emphasized that the “evidence of culture is how people behave when no one is watching.”

But now Mr. Diamond, who stepped down last week, faces criticism about his leadership as Barclays deals with fallout from a scandal involving interest rate manipulation.
...

Did Diamond lie?

The article continues by raising questions about whether Diamond lied to Parliament:

The correspondence between Barclays and British regulators appears to contradict evidence that Mr. Diamond gave last week to the same parliamentary committee.

In his testimony, Mr. Diamond indicated that the bank maintained a good relationship with the British regulator. He also said that he did not recall that the regulator had raised concerns about the bank’s activities or its internal culture.

“I knew nothing about it at the time that I was appointed,” Mr. Diamond told the parliamentary committee last week.

British politicians repeatedly asked Mr. Agius on Tuesday whether Mr. Diamond had been completely forthcoming during his testimony.

“Would you say that Mr. Diamond lied to this committee?” David Ruffley, a member of Parliament, asked Mr. Agius.

“I can’t comment on Mr. Diamond’s testimony,” the Barclays chairman said.

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Related content...

rumur via Vimeo, Barclays Center ground breaking

With the Libor scandal taking off I went back to look at the official groundbreaking footage. I first clipped Bloomberg's quote that no one is going to remember how long it took, because we believe the film will make sure that's not the case. I then happened upon Marty Markowitz calling Carl Kruger Brooklyn's most powerful politician. A year later he was in jail on corruption charges. Bob Diamond then speaks about Barclay Bank's values. The Libor scandal shows a corrupt value system.

NoLandGrab: Bob Diamond was completely truthful about one thing — the Barclays Center fits perfectly "with the ethos and the values of Barclays."

Posted by eric at 12:44 PM

July 11, 2012

More Officials to Testify as Diamond Defends His Actions

DealB%k [NYTimes.com]
by Mark Scott

"Diamond" Bob Diamond appears to tell the truth about as well as Con Ed "engineers" wires around Atlantic Yards.

Robert E. Diamond Jr., Barclays‘ former chief, defended his testimony as the list of senior officials set to appear before Parliament about the Barclays interest rate manipulation scandal is getting longer.
...

The British politicians asked [former Barclays Chairman Marcus] Agius whether Mr. Diamond had been completely forthcoming in his testimony.

“Would you say that Mr. Diamond lied to this committee?” David Ruffley, a member of Parliament, asked Mr. Agius.

“I can’t comment on Mr. Diamond’s testimony,” Mr. Agius replied.

In response, Mr. Diamond wrote to Andrew Tyrie, the committee’s chairman, late on Tuesday, saying he was “dismayed” that some of the politicians apparently believed he had been less than candid.

“Any such suggestion would be totally unfair and unfounded,” Mr. Diamond wrote, adding that he would be willing to discuss the issue with the British lawmakers. “The comments made at today’s hearing have had a terribly unfair impact upon my reputation.”

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NoLandGrab: What reputation?

Posted by eric at 1:31 PM

July 9, 2012

Ex Barclays CEO: I Too Fell for the Diamond Myth

CNBC via Yahoo! Finance
by Deepanshu Bagchee

Seems not "knowing" what his rogue subordinates were doing is nothing new for "Diamond" Bob Diamond.

Former Barclays CEO Martin Taylor says he had asked Bob Diamond to stay on as head of Barclays Capital back in 1998 after the latter offered to resign following losses of hundreds of millions of pounds from Russia's debt default. According to Taylor those losses were the result of Diamond's unit failing to adhere to trading limits set by the firm.

In a column in the Financial Times, Taylor says Diamond asked the credit committee for higher trading limits. But when the division didn't get the limits it was looking for, it "falsely marked some Russian banking counterparties as Swiss or American" and "blasted through the ceiling."

"The traders were fired. Their leader maintained that he had known nothing about what was going on. He felt terrible. He loved Barclays. He offered to go," Taylor said about Diamond.

"I concluded that the embryonic business that BarCap then was would fall apart without him, and that he should stay."

Regrets? He's had a few.

"I suspect the subsequent history of the business would have been very different had I asked him to go. I deserve blame for being among the first to succumb to the myth of Diamond's indispensability, to which some in Barclays were still in thrall only a matter of days ago."

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Related content...

The Daily Mail, Diamond Bob's spoilt brat and a super-rich elite with no shame

Nel Diamond, however, thinks everyone should just leave Daddy alone.

Diamond was criticised for presiding over a culture of reckless greed at Barclays. He agreed that the Libor interest rate fixing scandal was appalling. He said he was angry, physically sick — really? — when he read the damning emails. However, guess what? Not quite sick enough to hand in his £18 million payout, thanks all the same.

Diamond is doing his best to appear contrite, but he is just one more fake penitent in the public dock today. In private, it will be a very different story. Behind closed doors, I suspect, he will have feelings of entitlement and rage over his forced resignation which are awful to behold.

Indeed, for an insight into how Diamond really feels, look no further than his daughter Nell, the 23-year-old Wall Street banker who jumped to the defence of her darling daddy earlier this week.

Posted by eric at 10:44 AM

July 6, 2012

Markowitz's summer concert series: patrons include Forest City, Barclays Center, Brooklyn Nets, and Barclays

Atlantic Yards Report

One hand washes the other four, and vice versa.

Just in case you were wondering, no less than four entities associated with the new Brooklyn are are backing--as patrons, above sponsors--Borough President Marty Markowitz's two summer concert series.

The Seaside Series in Coney Island cites the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Nets, and Forest City Ratner Companies, among eight patrons.

(There are many more sponsors. Last October the New York Times explained how Markowitz raised big bucks for charities associated with projects that boosted his reputation, drawing on donors who did business in the borough.)

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Series in Crown Heights/PLG adds a fourth sponsor: Barclays. That might not be the best timing, but who cares, really.

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Posted by eric at 10:16 AM

Will the Barclays Banking Scandal Drag Down Arena's Reputation?

The London-based bank the arena is named for is dealing with the fallout from accusations of rate manipulation.

Park Slope Patch
by Jamie Schuh

The Barclays Center is due to open in less than three months, but its name could be tarnished by news that three of the London bank’s top executives are resigning over a rate-manipulation scandal, says the New York Times.

Barclays is paying $200 million over the next 20 years for naming rights to the Atlantic Yards arena, but will the bank’s episode ultimately turn into an embarrassment for the arena?

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NoLandGrab: The arena's already an embarrassment of eminent domain abuse, corporate welfare, backroom dealing, crime and corruption. Barclays is just more icing on the cake.

Related content...

The Real Deal, Amid current scandal, Barclays to get a high-profile Brooklyn namesake

Posted by eric at 9:51 AM

July 5, 2012

The Stadium Jinx

Future of Capitali$m

When a company overpays for the naming rights to a government-subsidized sports stadium, it's almost always a bad sign. Citigroup paid a reported $400 million in 2006 to call the new Mets baseball stadium Citi Field; Citi shares since then have tanked. Barclays paid $200 million for rights to put its name on the arena in Brooklyn where the Nets basketball team will play, an arena built with the use of state power to seize private homes through eminent domain. Now the CEO, chairman, and chief operating officer of Barclays have all resigned amid a scandal over fixing, or attempting to fix, the London interbank offered rate.

It was bad enough that the city and state used eminent domain and subsidies to build this arena in partnership with a politically well connected developer. I'm sure there are plenty of fine people who work at Barclays (I know at least one of them), but there's something distasteful about naming the arena — they're even renaming the Atlantic Avenue subway station beneath the arena, or at least re-signing it — for a company whose name is now associated with such misbehavior. It's a certain peculiarity of the Bloomberg administration — if you are a soda company or a cigarette manufacturer, they demonize you, but if you are a financial services company, they name a stadium after you. This Web site is not in the camp that wants to demonize the entire financial services industry. And if it were an arena or stadium built entirely with private money, that would be a different situation — the owner could name it whatever the owner wanted to. In this case, there's a subway station supported by tax dollars being renamed after a British bank some of whose employees seem to have engaged in highly questionable behavior.

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Posted by eric at 1:18 PM

Barclays' claim: "we’re dirty-clean, rather than clean-clean"

Atlantic Yards Report

According to the Huffington Post, branding experts don't think the stigma facing Barclays will last, or Barclays Bank Scandal Unlikely To Taint Brooklyn Nets' Fresh Start. So one p.r. expert:

"I think on both the NBA totem pole and in New York professional sports, the Nets don't exactly rank very well in terms of brand value or brand awareness, so Barclays won't really make it worse for them."

But maybe those following the Barclays Center will remember some choice bits, such as from today's New York Times, Barclays C.E.O. Resigns as Bank Frames a Defense:

When Barclays bank manipulated key interest rates to bolster profits during the 2008 financial crisis, senior executives said they were following a common practice that regulators implicitly approved, according to documents released by the bank and authorities.

...Even as [top executives] resigned, Barclays published documents indicating that some executives thought they were responding to an implied directive from the Bank of England, Britain’s central bank.

Investigators disagree, saying that Barclays "never explicitly told regulators that it was reporting false interest rates that amounted to manipulation," and the bank has been charted with helping other banks do the same thing.

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Related content...

The Huffington Post, Barclays Bank Scandal Unlikely To Taint Brooklyn Nets' Fresh Start

The curse of the naming rights continues. Just as the Brooklyn Nets are about to settle into the brand-new Barclays Center, the bank for which the NBA team's arena is named has plunged into scandal. The British bank has been ordered to pay $450 million in fines for manipulating global interest rates and several executives have resigned.
...

Liz Goodgold of Redfire Branding echoed Shankman. "It’s important to remember that this is not front-page news outside of the finance community," she said. "More Americans, for example, are aware and intrigued by the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes split than in the nuances of this brouhaha."

NoLandGrab: And that's what makes America such a great nation.

NY Times Deal B%k, Barclays C.E.O. Resigns as Bank Frames a Defense

In one call on April 2008, a Barclays manager acknowledged to the Financial Services Authority that the bank was understating its Libor submissions. “So, to the extent that, um, the Libors have been understated, are we guilty of being part of the pack? You could say we are,” the Barclays manager said, according to regulatory documents.

“I would sort of express us maybe as not clean clean, but clean in principle.”

Or, as one Barclays official told the British Bankers Associations, the organization that oversees Libor, “we’re clean but we’re dirty-clean, rather than clean-clean.”

NLG: If you don't thin it's cool for Brooklyn's biggest transit hub to carry the name of a "dirty-clean" interest-rate rigging bank, add your name to this petition asking the MTA to scotch the deal that changed the name of the Atlantic Av-Pacific St station.

Posted by eric at 10:44 AM

Arena Names Can Spell Embarrassment

The New York Times
by Richard Sandomir

Barclays picked an awful time to be caught in a scandal and for its chief executive to resign.

In less than three months, Barclays Center in Brooklyn will open with a concert by Jay-Z, a minority owner of the Nets. That will be followed a couple of weeks later by two nights of music from the high priestess of the borough, Barbra Streisand. Soon after the buttah melts, the Brooklyn Nets will open their season.

And so while a lot has gone right for the Nets in the last 72 hours — agreements for a big trade and the re-signing of Deron Williams — the Barclays episode feels right out of the team’s haunted past.

article

NoLandGrab: More like an episode from the team's haunted present. The news that Barclays, with its sordid history, was illegally fixing interest rates should come as a surprise to no one. And its part and parcel of the crooked deals and crooked characters swarming like flies around that big pile of brown at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues.

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Times Sports section agrees Barclays Center naming rights worth $200 million, suggests sum "hard for any team to turn down" (but why were naming rights given away, or not calculated as subsidy?)

So, the New York Times has agreed that the Barclays Center naming rights deal is worth $200 million, thus performing "rowback," which former Times Public Editor Daniel Okrent described in his 3/14/04 column as "a way that a newspaper can cover its butt without admitting it was ever exposed."

Remember, the New York Times Metro section, 7/19/11:

The new design from SHoP Architects and Ellerbe Becket for the arena, the Barclays Center, which the British bank will pay nearly $400 million to name...

My exchange with the Public Editor (actually his assistant), who resisted any correction to the more accurate figure of $200 million-plus, posted 8/3/11.

Sports Business Journal's confirmation that the naming rights deal has been renegotiated to $200 million, posted 9/19/11.
...

But why should Forest City have had the naming rights in the first place? It's a publicly owned arena, albeit one rented to the developer for a buck, part of a fig leaf to get tax-exempt bonds issued, which are then repaid via PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes).

Why should cities and states give away naming rights, in whole or in part? When asked in 2009, Steve Matlin, then an attorney for the Empire State Development Corporation, stated, “It’s part of the financing for the project."

While it certainly has been relied on by Forest City Ratner, it was never cited as part of the sources and uses for the project. Nor was it even counted as a subsidity in any cost-benefit analysis regarding the project, not even the one by the New York City Independent Budget Office.

Posted by eric at 10:26 AM

July 4, 2012

Declare Your Independence, Brooklyn, From Disgraced British Banks

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

Happy Independence Day!

With this petition, you can declare your own independence from the disgraced manipulators at Barclays Bank, which is slapping its logo all over Brooklyn and on that UFO at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic.

Have a great holiday.

link

Posted by eric at 10:52 AM

What’s in a Stadium Name? Often Trouble for a Company

DealB%K [NYTimes.com]
by William Alden

It was probably not on the list of warning signs that led regulators to uncover a rate-manipulation scandal at Barclays, but there’s one red flag that nevertheless should not be overlooked: the stadium-naming curse.

The British bank, whose chief executive resigned on Tuesday after the company agreed to pay $450 million to settle accusations that it tried to influence important borrowing rates, seems to have fallen victim to an eerily common phenomenon of the last decade or so. It secured the naming rights to a sports stadium, and then fell on hard times.

The curse has claimed a range of corporations, names like Enron, Adelphia, Trans World Airlines, Conseco, PSINet and, recently, American Airlines.

article

NoLandGrab: More likely it's that the rotting hulk of Atlantic Yards seems to draw sleazeballs and scammers like flies, including Carl Kruger, Richard Lipsky, Jim Stuckey, Bruce Bender and now-ex-Barclays CEO "Diamond" Bob Diamond.

Posted by eric at 10:17 AM

July 3, 2012

Understanding the Barclays Craziness

The Awl
by Choire Sicha

LIBOR what? Barclays who? Do you have no idea what's going on? This helps. Do you want someone to explain what he did in falsely representing the bank? Here you go. Do you wish that a subway stop and a stadium in Brooklyn weren't named for the bank? Do you find it hilarious that the fines the bank paid for LIBOR manipulation are greater than the amount they promised to the Barclays Center? Oh well, nothing you can do, just be grateful it's not called Enron Field.

link

NoLandGrab: Sign a petition asking the MTA to cancel the "Atlantic Av.-Barclays Center" naming-rights deal.

Posted by eric at 2:57 PM

Flashback to March 2010: Mike Bloomberg calls Barclays' Bob Diamond "my friend"

Atlantic Yards Report

Barclays Chief Executive Bob Diamond, who just resigned in the wake of an interest-rate scandal that also took down his board chairman, may be best known in New York for signing a naming-rights deal for the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

And at the arena groundbreaking 3/11/10, Mayor Mike Bloomberg cozily saluted both Diamond and developer Bruce Ratner as "my friend."

After first hyping the jobs and tax revenues purportedly created by the project, Bloomberg shifted tone to address fellow moguls: "Now I know that Forest City Ratner and my friend, and my neighbor, Bruce, and Barclays, my friend, Bob Diamond, are going to work together to make sure that many of the jobs generated here are going to go right here, to people that already live in this community."

Actually, Barclays was to have nothing to do with the jobs. And Diamond, as we now know, had other things on his mind.

link

Posted by eric at 2:53 PM

Barclays' Bob Diamond resigns, tainted in scandal; was responsible for arena naming rights deal; will MTA feel chagrin about selling subway station naming rights?

Atlantic Yards Report

Another crooked Atlantic Yards player bites the dust.

The executive responsible for the Barclays Center naming rights deal--rights that New York State gave to developer Forest City Ratner--has resigned in the wake of a scandal. And that puts an asterisk on the first subway station naming rights ever sold by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

From MSNBC:

LONDON - Bob Diamond, the chief executive of Barclays, resigned early Tuesday over the lending rate-rigging scandal that last week saw the bank fined a record amount by U.S. and U.K. regulators.

The move deepens the latest crisis to hit the financial services industry, with observers suggesting investigations into the manipulation of inter-bank lending rates could soon implicate banks in the United States.

Diamond’s resignation comes a day after the company’s chairman Marcus Agius announced his own departure. Despite also being implicated in the issue, Agius will stay on to lead the search for a replacement chief executive, according a statement early Tuesday.

article

NoLandGrab: Sign a petition asking the MTA to cancel the "Atlantic Av.-Barclays Center" naming-rights deal.

Posted by eric at 2:17 PM

July 2, 2012

Brooklyn Netskis...

@powellnyt via Twitter

link

Posted by eric at 1:10 PM

June 28, 2012

Suitable Partners: Barclays' Bob Diamond and Bruce Ratner

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn


That's Dapper Bob Diamond in the pinstripes, next to Jay Z, at the Barclays Center (aka House that Eminent Domain Built) groundbreaking in 2010.

Doesn't it just make perfect sense that the bank that bought the naming rights to a corrupt land grab (and a subway station for a song) is also...corrupt.

At the same time, isn't it just a tiny bit distasteful (and embarrassing) that this shamed corporation gets to slap its logo all over Brooklyn and use the Borough for its branding advantage? From The Guardian:

Pressure builds on Barclays boss Bob Diamond
Barclays chief faces calls to step down after bank fined £290m for trying to manipulate key interest rates

Pressure is mounting on the boss of Barclays, Bob Diamond, following the £290m penalties slapped on the bank for trying to manipulate the price of crucial interest rates that affect the cost of borrowing for millions of customers around the world.

As Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Treasury select committee pledged to call Diamond to give evidence to MPs, the Barclays chief executive was facing calls to step down.

article

Posted by eric at 11:05 AM

June 27, 2012

Barclays to pay $400M-plus to settle LIBOR charges

Barclays agrees to pay $400M-plus to settle charges it attempt to manipulate key lending rates

AP via Yahoo! Finance

Yes, Brooklyn, your arena is named for a thoroughly crooked financial outfit.

Barclays PLC and its subsidiaries have agreed to pay more than $400 million to settle charges that it attempted to manipulate and made false reports related to setting key global interest rates.

The rates affect the costs of hundreds of trillions of dollars in loans and investments such as bonds, auto loans and derivatives.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Wednesday that the incidents occurred between 2005 and 2009 and sometimes took place daily.

The CFTC said Barclays senior management and multiple traders were involved in the matter and that they also coordinated with traders at other banks to make false submissions.
...

Barclays President Bob Diamond also announced he and three senior bank executives were waiving any bonus for the year as a result of the case.

article

NoLandGrab: That's nice, but shouldn't Bob Diamond be waving goodbye as he heads off to jail?

Posted by eric at 11:48 AM

June 26, 2012

DAMN THE MAN, SAVE THE EMPIRE, ER, ATLANTIC AVE/PACIFIC STOP NAME!

F'd in Park Slope

Were you also a bit miffed to hear that the linkATLANTIC/PACIFIC SUBWAY STOP WAS RENAMED THE BARCLAYS CENTER STOP? Now you can wear that big eye roll on your sleeve with an link"I'M STILL CALLING IT ATLANTIC/PACIFIC" T-SHIRT via Miss Witt Designs.

link

Related coverage...

2nd Ave. Sagas, T-Shirt of the Day: A Brooklyn subway landmark

Miss Wit Tees is selling these for $14 a pop. That’s one way to fight a Bruce Ratner-inspired naming-rights deal. The protest language:

You can tear the buildings down, and run folks out of town, and spin your tales of heroism. Billionaires come, and billionaires go. Names change, streets are bulldozed, neighborhoods divided, but these coordinates remain the same. Change is great, destruction ain’t. When the name becomes Atlantic/Housing Way we might sing a sweeter tune. You can call it the Barclay’s whatever, but I’m Still Calling it Atlantic Avenue Pacific Street!

This ain’t the first time I’ve heard these sentiments. Based on the city’s collective experiences with the Triborough Bridge renaming, I have a feeling the discarded Pacific St. moniker will live on well beyond its elimination from the subway map.

From Russia With Dunk, Barclays Center Opponent To Distribute T-Shirts

I think the opposition to the Nets’ move to Brooklyn puts more pressure on the team to succeed quickly. If the Nets continue having losing seasons and attracting few fans, Barclays Center opponents may be more justified in claiming that the Nets wasted a Brooklyn neighborhood.

NoLandGrab: Whether the Nets go 82-0 or 0-82 doesn't change anything. A corrupt land grab is a corrupt land grab.

Posted by eric at 10:00 AM

June 5, 2012

Uncertain Fate For Existing Signage at Renamed Atlantic Av.-Barclays Center Station

If history is any guide, at least some of the soon-to-be-obsolete signs will end up for sale.

Park Slope Patch
by Paul Leonard

Goodbye, Atlantic Av.-Pacific St. station. Hello, Atlantic Av.-Barclays Center.

With little fanfare, the Metropolitan Transit Authority put up signs last week informing riders that the station connecting nine subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road would be renamed for the 19,000-seat mega-arena quickly taking shape overhead.

Less clear, however, was the fate of dozens of existing (and now obsolete) signs throughout the transit complex.

article

Posted by eric at 12:27 PM

June 1, 2012

The Day: The New Signs of the Times

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]

More like a sign of the apocalypse.

Our eagle-eyed scribe Erin Horan spotted new signs in the Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street station, alerting riders to what has long been promised, but slow to roll out: The station is now officially “Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center.” The name change will take some getting used to, but Barclays Center supporters say that having the name of the arena in the station itself will encourage more mass transit use.

link

NoLandGrab: No, disincentivizing car travel will encourage more mass transit use.

Photo: Erin Horan

Posted by eric at 9:35 AM

May 16, 2012

Barclays Center Signage Now Underground

Brownstoner

There goes the neighborhood.

A reader sent in the photo above, as well as the following note: “I noticed this on my commute in this morning — It looks as if some of the new “Barclays Center” signs are up and uncovered — at least at the far end of the Q/B platform at Atlantic Avenue (or I guess I should say Atlantic Ave / Barclays Center). It looks as if the signs are up for the length of the platform, but the rest are covered.”

link

Posted by eric at 12:31 PM

April 15, 2012

KPMG and Barclays: synergy beyond Atlantic Yards

Atlantic Yards Report

For Atlantic Yards watchers, there's something quite synergistic about this photo of golfer Phil Mickelson, who "represents KPMG on Tour in the U.S. and across the globe."

Here's the consulting company's blurb:

Just knowing how won’t get the job done in a complex environment. You also need the passion to excel—to harness what you know against every challenge. Every time. That’s the kind of drive that puts Phil Mickelson atop the leaderboard. And leads KPMG to provide clear, actionable advice to our clients around the world.
It’s that simple.

Such clear, actionable advice--er, fuzzy math--helped the Empire State Development Corporation tell the public and courts that it was realistic to get the entire Atlantic Yards project, including the market-rate housing, built in a decade.

And, of course, Barclays, which now sponsors numerous sporting events, bought naming rights to the Atlantic Yards arena.

link

Posted by steve at 9:42 PM

February 25, 2012

Citibank and Barclays: Condemn Uganda’s 'Kill the Gays' Bill

Change.org

Barclays Bank has been no friend to Brooklyn by sponsoring the new Nets Arena, but maybe they can be encouraged to be responsible elsewhere.

Ugandan legislators have re-introduced the dangerous Anti-Homosexuality Bill, a proposed law that would criminalize homosexuality in the country with extreme penalties. Under this proposed law, LGBT people could be killed or sentenced to life in prison, solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. As the bill’s author, David Bahati, has said, he believes the government of Uganda should “kill every last gay person.” (1)

Citibank and Barclays -- two of the largest banks in the world -- have major operations in Uganda. Citibank has nearly $300 million in assets invested Uganda, and is a major leader in a U.S. Chamber of Commerce based in Kampala, Uganda’s capital.

Barclays is Uganda’s third largest bank, with more than 1,000 employees in the country and 51 branches throughout the nation.

Citibank and Barclays are also well known for supporting their LGBT employees and protecting their employees and customers from anti-gay discrimination. Citibank is a huge supporter of LGBT groups in the United States, and has received a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. And just last week, Barclays was named the most LGBT-friendly company in all of Scotland, and regularly is ranked as one of the best companies for LGBT people to work for in the world.

With the “Kill the Gays” bill looming in Uganda’s parliament, Citibank and Barclays have unique and necessary voices that could help stop this bill in its tracks. Their presence in Uganda is significant, and their voices in opposition to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill could have a profound impact in keeping LGBT people safe in Uganda.

Ask Citibank and Barclays to publicly condemn Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill, and send a loud message to Ugandan legislators that criminalizing homosexuality with lifetime prison sentences and the death penalty won’t be supported by major international businesses.

link

Posted by steve at 10:55 PM

February 19, 2012

A tougher road than expected for expanding Barclays; no implications (yet) for Brooklyn promotional efforts

Atlantic Yards Report

So, the banking firm plastering its name on the Brooklyn arena is hitting a rough patch, at least in Europe. In a 2/9/12 article headlined Barclays Falls Short of Big Dreams, the Wall Street Journal reported:

In June 2009, top Barclays PLC executive Robert Diamond laid out an ambitious plan for the venerable British bank "to be the premier global investment bank," a goal he hoped to achieve "over the next couple of years."
More than three years after Barclays absorbed Lehman Brothers' North American operations in a cut-price deal that represented a critical moment of the financial crisis, Barclays has yet to achieve the lofty goals set out by Mr. Diamond, now the bank's chief executive.
Despite making progress, the investment-banking division, called Barclays Capital, is making less money than executives predicted. In Europe, which Barclays targeted as a key growth area, it has struggled to win investment-banking assignments in the crucial areas of equities and mergers and acquisitions. It has fallen short of a goal to become a top-three player in those categories.

The strategy in the U.S. may be on more solid ground, but it's just the key part of the business, according to the firm's report of 2011 results, issued 2/10/12.

Still, if Barclays doesn't do better, who knows, maybe it will want to renegotiate, yet again, the naming rights agreement. Or place a greater priority on using the Barclays Center arena to boost its profile. Stay tuned.

link

Posted by steve at 10:46 PM

February 17, 2012

Brooklyn Cosmos? Full Frontal Sponsorship Options

The Denim Kit

The New York Cosmos are shopping for land in New York City for a new stadium and have not ruled out any of the 4 boroughs (sorry Staten Island).

The Cosmos? You mean, like, Pele? Circa 1977?

Now, let’s get ahead of ourselves here for a moment, its imprudent, but it sure is darn fun. A Brooklyn-based professional soccer team will need a Brooklyn-friendly sponsor to grace the front of their shirts. No ordinary sponsor will do.

Barclays: A more well-heeled, realistic option is Barclays, The British bank made a big splash in Brooklyn by sponsoring the new Arena for the Nets at Atlantic Yards. Since they are already supporting the return of professional sports to Brooklyn it would make sense for them to support a sport they know best. Barclays has, of course, been the title sponsor of the English Premier League since 1993 and is currently contracted to remain so through the 2012-13 season.

Um, no.

link

NoLandGrab: In-the-know Atlantic Yards foes aren't likely to be assuaged by this option, either.

Posted by eric at 11:00 PM

December 29, 2011

Brooklyn's largest subway hub will be co-named (not re-named) for Barclays arena (timing, name not yet announced)

Atlantic Yards Report

To clarify a report on About.com (picked up by the Brooklyn Eagle) that Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street Station Goes Corporate, Will Now Be Renamed Barclays Terminal, the MTA confirms that it will be a co-naming, not a renaming.

Neither a precise name nor timing have been announced, but I doubt the co-naming would occur until the arena opens. The official opening date is 9/28/12, but there should be a soft opening in August.

The first-ever sale of station naming rights was announced in 2009, for $200,000 a year over 20 years--a bargain, I'd contend.

link

Related...

About.com, CORRECTION/UPDATE: Happy 2012...and Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street Station Goes Corporate, Will Now Reflect the Name Barclays

Posted by eric at 10:25 AM

November 11, 2011

P.S. 9 and M.S. 571 Celebrate New Playground

The ribbon-cutting of the $305,000 revamped space was marked with poetry, dance, song ... and a giant silver fox.

Prospect Heights Patch
by Amy Sara Clark

P.S. 9 and M.S. 571 celebrated the opening of its $305,000 playground yesterday with song, dance, poetry and even a visit from the NETS mascot, Sly.
...

The revamped space was funded in part by Out2Play, a non-profit that raises funds to refurbish NYC public school playgrounds, the NYC Department of Education, Brooklyn Borough President’s Office, and the Barclays Nets Community Alliance, a partnership of Forest City Ratner, the NETS and Barclays that, since forming in 2007, has given area non-profits $1 million a year, according to a NETS news release.

article

NoLandGrab: Here's a recent Atlantic Yards Report piece on the Barclays Nets Community Alliance's playground funding.

Posted by eric at 10:44 AM

November 9, 2011

Barclays Nets Community Alliance no longer claiming "it has funded" refurbished playgrounds but rather "funded in part"

Atlantic Yards Report

The latest press release promoting a playground refurbished by the Barclays Nets Community Alliance has a subtle but significant change in language, as the team/sponsor no longer seem to claim all the credit. (I'm checking on the actual numbers.) They still get to issue the press release, though.

Previous claim

About two months ago, the alliance was claiming that "it has funded" a refurbished playground, leaving the impression it deserved most of the credit, even though the alliance paid about one-eighth the cost.

link

Posted by eric at 10:12 PM

November 8, 2011

Barclays CEO Diamond slammed for inadequate defense of banks as "good citizens"

Atlantic Yards Report

Barclays Capital, which bought naming rights to the Atlantic Yards arena that the state gave away, has come in for a bit of criticism of late.

article

Posted by eric at 10:37 AM

October 17, 2011

B is for Barclays

Brooklyn Spoke

Brooklyn Spoke's Doug Gordon snapped this photo yesterday.

I spotted this during a ride up to Prospect Heights on Sunday. It’s the B for the Barclays Center façade at a staging area on the corner of Dean Street and Carlton Avenue.

link

Posted by eric at 11:05 AM

October 1, 2011

On CNN Money, Ratner tours/touts arena, makes unfounded claim about winning "37 lawsuits," claims Barclays "stuck with us"

Atlantic Yards Report

In a video posted yesterday, Tour the new Nets arena with Bruce Ratner, CNN Money offers publicity to an arena a year away from completion.

Ratner offers two reasons for the long path. "There were a lot of litigation. some people unhappy, it's a democracy, it's our country, entitled. We won 37 lawsuits." (At the groundbreaking in March 2010, Ratner claimed "34 lawsuits.")

How can he say that with a straight face? The number of lawsuits was about ten--maybe there were a bunch more decisions on motions. Ratner and the state, notably lost the last decision--which will be appealed--which combines two lawsuits..

The economy

More important to the delays, he said, was "the Great Recession... We were just about to get the financing when the world fell apart, and we had to re-do everything."

That would include not just dropping Frank Gehry's design but reopening settled deals with two state agencies, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Empire State Development Corporation.

A Barclays question

"Can you talk a little more about the partnership with Barclays?" he was asked.

"First of all, they've been amazing partners--they've stuck with us," Ratner stated. Actually, Barclays renegotiated the naming rights agreement twice and the official figure was cut in half.

link

Posted by steve at 2:11 PM

September 24, 2011

Urban Parent Expo today: lead sponsor is Barclays/Nets

Atlantic Yards Report

The Urban Parent Expo, held today at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights, has a Platinum Sponsor: the Barclays Center/Brooklyn Nets.

(Hm, not sure if that team name is official yet.)

The activities include:

  • Brooklyn NETS Basketball & Conditioning Activities (Show your basketball skills with conditioning drills and exciting contests!)
  • NETS Airbrush Tattoo Artist (Free NETS airbrush tattoos)
  • NETS Dancers (Enjoy a performance, learn some moves and get an autograph.)
  • Team Hype & Sly the Mascot

link

NoLandGrab: The Nets Dancers must be there to help build self-esteem in girls.

Posted by eric at 10:20 AM

September 1, 2011

NEIGHBORHOOD POWER RANKINGS

Brooklyn Magazine

The offensive commercialization of a local schoolyard costs Carroll Gardens to notches in the standings.

09. (-2) Carroll Gardens

Signs for Barclays, sponsor of the coming Atlantic Yards stadium, appeared on the playground fences of a local elementary school. Blech.

article

Posted by eric at 10:59 AM

August 20, 2011

So, is that Barclays naming rights deal really worth $400 million? This time the Times hedges

Atlantic Yards Report

From today's New York Times Sports section, published online as Reports: New Meadowlands Soon to Be MetLife Stadium:

If MetLife’s contract averages as much as $20 million annually, it will equal what Citigroup is paying to have its name on Citi Field, the home of the Mets. The other sports facilities in the New York metropolitan area with corporate names are the Prudential Center, the home of the Devils; Barclays Center, the future home of the Nets; and Red Bull Arena, where the Red Bulls play.

The Times did not assert that the Barclays Center naming rights deal was also worth $20 million a year.

However, FoxBusiness did so, in Report: MetLife Lands Naming Rights Deal for Meadowlands, published 8/19/11:

In fact, the last large-scale deals in this area were a pair of 20-year, $400 million sponsorships signed by Citigroup in 2006 for the home of the New York Mets and by Barclays in early 2007 with the New Jersey Nets.

...

Why didn't the Times assert the Barclays deal was also worth $400 million, especially after the Public Editor (credulously) recently expressed satisfaction with the Metro desk's verification of the issue?

Maybe because today's story was written by Sports Business reporter Richard Sandomir, who, in a 1/6/10 article allowed the arena promoters to make their claim, but left it somewhat ambiguous:

The recession and the departure of the star architect Frank Gehry led to the renegotiation of some terms of the Barclays-Nets deal. According to a bond document, the arena naming rights were halved.

The Nets insist that they have given Barclays more for its sponsorship money and that the bank’s total annual payments, including fees for other rights, remain unchanged.

link

NoLandGrab: Whatever the deal is worth, none of the money will go to the State of New York that gave away the naming rights..

Posted by steve at 4:06 PM

Ratner and Yormark meet with NHL executives; talk of preseason for Islanders at Barclays or a move?

Atlantic Yards Report

Late Thursday night, NetsDaily reported that Barclays Center arena operators Bruce Ratner and Brett Yormark met with National Hockey League officials, leading to renewal of talk about the possibility of the New York Islanders, whose Nassau Coliseum renovation plan was just voted down, could become the Brooklyn Islanders.

No details emerged--was it just about pre-season games?--but Newsday and CBSSports.com's Eye on Hockey followed up. Pre-season games are absolutely plausible; consider that the New Jersey Nets booked such dates at the Prudential Center in Newark before moving to an interim home there.

The Barclays Center, due to its basketball-centric design, would have the smallest capacity in the NHL, some 14,000, and with inadequate sightlines for a certain segment of fans.

Then again, moving to Barclays could bring revenues through more expensive suites and seats--and preserve a lucrative local cable TV contract, a factor that a Forbes writer thinks would ensure a Brooklyn move rather than one out of town. Neil deMause, however, thinks that Islanders owner Charles Wang will give a new arena one more try.

link

Posted by steve at 4:03 PM

July 20, 2011

Rhetoric check: arena now dubbed "Barclays Center of Brooklyn," taking advantage of Brooklyn connection (and connoting civic virtue)

Atlantic Yards Report

As noted on NetsDaily, the Barclays Center arena is now being called the Barclays Center of Brooklyn.

What's in the name?

Clearly arena promoters are taking advantage of the geographic location--Brooklyn's got a lot of buzz these days--but there's something more going on, I'd suggest.

It's very unusual to attach a geographic location to an arena, as these lists of United States and Canadian arenas show. (Ditto for stadiums.) Of the few arenas with geographical locations, it's not typical to use "of." The list includes, for example, HP Pavilion at San Jose.

What it means

The name "Barclays Center of Brooklyn" is designed, I believe, to leave the impression that the arena is somehow embedded in the borough, a contributor to civic virtue and local coffers.

article

Posted by eric at 9:30 PM

June 16, 2011

Barclays Signs at P.S. 58 Defaced

Messages condemning rich white people were stuck to schoolyard advertising.

Carroll Gardens Patch
by Georgia Kral

The writing is on the wall.

Apparently, someone doesn't like the Barclays-sponsored signage attached to the P.S. 58 schoolyard.

Pardon Me For Asking noticed that two stickers were affixed to one of the two Barclays signs at the school.

They read, respectively:

"Crazy, Crazy (Rich) White People!"

"When Will It End?"

While the message is a bit unclear -- are the saboteurs condeming Barclays or the school? -- one thing is certain: the signs are now defaced.

article

Related coverage...

The L Magazine, Barclays Buys Up Naming Rights to Local Playgrounds, Too

A debate among parents has ensued, of course, of which Atlantic Yards Report has a pretty good rundown. The Patch piece sums it up as "Even...Snapple machines in school cafeterias is too much corporate encroachment" vs. "it ain’t even that big of a sign." Any sign is too big of a sign!

Posted by eric at 12:26 PM

June 14, 2011

Will Barclays get naming rights to Brooklyn schoolyards too?

Atlantic Yards Report

Apparently the Barclays Nets Community Alliance, which has contributed funds to the nonprofit Out2Play to rehab school playgrounds, also gets signage, as Patch reports, following up news reported earlier by Pardon Me for Asking (which has photos too).

It's a local version of the naming rights Barclays bought for the Atlantic Yards arena (after the state gave naming rights away) and Forest City Ratner bought for Barclays at the Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street transit hub.

P.S. 58 in Carroll Gardens has a nice new playground (right; click to enlarge). Some parents are dismayed at the signs advertising Barclays, and some aren't.

Public funds, private layer

I'd point out that, when Out2Play seeks individual donations, they don't advertise the possibility of getting your name on a school playground. That must be reserved for bigger donors.

Out2Play explains:

Every dollar we raise from the private sector often translates into nine dollars in public funding. Each of our playspaces costs an average of $250,000.

How much did Barclays give to P.S. 58? I haven't checked, but would note that the initial $150,000 grant was supposed to help refurbish eight playgrounds.

That's less than $20,000 a playground--pretty good if you get a sign out of it too.

article

Related coverage...

Pardon Me For Asking, What's The Deal With Barclays Signs On PS 58 Schoolyard Fence?

...whatever monies Barclays coughed up shouldn't give the bank the right to turn a schoolyard into a place for advertisement. What's next? McDonald signs? It's kind of a slippery slope.

Posted by eric at 10:07 AM

June 13, 2011

Barclays "Advertising" on P.S. 58 Playground Has Parents Talking

The signage, sponsored by the Barclays Nets Community Alliance, has parents talking.

Carroll Gardens Patch
by Paul DeBenedetto

School, brought to you by TEAM HYPE!

New signs advertising the Barclays Nets Community Alliance at P.S. 58 in Carroll Gardens has caused a stir among some parents in the community.

The signs, which appeared on the fence earlier this month, display the Barclays Center (a.k.a. Atlantic Yards) and Nets logos, and the slogan “Building Success Together.”

Parent Melissa Dadourian, 42, felt uneasy with the signs’ placement.

“It’s kind of weird to have advertisements outside of a public school,” she said.

The signs are part of a partnership between Barclays, the organization behind development of the new Barclays Center sports arena, and Out2Play, a non-profit organization that partners with donors and corporations to renovate schoolyards in public schools throughout the city.

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Posted by eric at 10:43 PM

May 2, 2011

The charity strategy: Barclays/NETS Community Alliance now giving to Brooklyn Steppers, Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Atlantic Yards Report

I wrote last June how the Barclays/Nets Community Alliance had not only given donations to playgrounds and to the Brooklyn Historical Society, it had begun to support the Brooklyn Public Library's summer reading program.

Let's add a few more recipients to the growing list. On April 17, as the graphic at right indicates, the Brooklyn Steppers drumline--a stalwart at Atlantic Yards events, by the way--held a fundraiser, the Battle of the Drumlines, featuring "a head to head battle of two of the nation's top Historically Black Colleges and Universities - North Carolina A&T State University vs. South Carolina State University."

Also, the alliance serves as the lead sponsor of the 2011 Benefit Bash for Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a Sunset Park nonprofit that aims "to empower low and moderate income Brooklyn residents to secure quality housing and build financial assets."

The charity strategy

Using charitable donations to make friends and neutralize potential critics is not a new strategy; after all, Forest City Ratner has practiced this tactic for years, as has--on a much grander scale--Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

And organizations that need money, in an era when government support is scarce, can't help but be grateful.

Ultimately, however, these gifts are an easy call for the donor, since the public is essentially paying the freight.

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Posted by eric at 12:12 PM

March 29, 2011

Morgan Spurlock, Filmmaker

Here's Park Slope

Morgan Spurlock is no fan of the corporatization of New York City.

Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock is perhaps best known for his groundbreaking 2004 film Super Size Me, in which he ate nothing but McDonalds for 30 days and ended up 24 lbs. heavier, with the liver of a chronic alcoholic. Born in West Virginia, he recently moved back to Park Slope after living in Fort Greene for the past couple years, and is glad to be back. We met up this morning at Cafe Martin and discussed his background, his love of Park Slope, and his newest project, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, a documentary about finding product placement and sponsors for that documentary, in theaters April 22nd.
...

HPS: What's your ultimate goal with this film?

Morgan: What I would love to see happen is for people to become so incredibly aware of the amount of marketing happening in their lives that we start to question how much sponsorship we want in our daily lives. Does everything need to be brought to you by some sponsor? The City Council just passed a law, they're going to start selling off parks and things in New York City to corporate interests. Giving them the naming rights, much like Barclays Station instead of Atlantic/ Pacific. Is that where we are as a society, that literally the only people we can turn to are corporations to come in and underwrite things? If that's the case, I can't wait to go skiing in Pepsi, Colorado!

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NoLandGrab: Coincidentally, Spurlock's The Greatest Movie Ever Sold will open the Hot Docs festival in Toronto at which Atlantic Yards documentary Battle for Brooklyn will have its world premiere.

Posted by eric at 11:07 PM

March 4, 2011

Media meme #1: why is the Barclays Center naming rights deal reported as "nearly $400 million"?

Atlantic Yards Report

How exactly are sports reporters still reporting that the Barclays Center naming rights deal resembles the $400 million deal announced in January 2007?

Consider the cliche-ridden USA Today article headlined New Jersey Nets go global to help domestic image. (No, it's not about EB-5.)

The article begins:

New Jersey Nets CEO Brett Yormark looked at Brooklyn and saw the world, a melting pot of humanity.

He also saw a world of opportunity for the Nets as the franchise planned its move to Brooklyn starting with the 2012-13 season.

Yormark began an aggressive pursuit of international brands the Nets could partner with, scoring a lucrative 20-year naming-rights deal worth nearly $400 million for the Brooklyn arena with Barclays, the London-based banking and financial services giant.

How does the reporter know the value of the naming rights deal?

Because the $400 million figure was promoted relentlessly by the Nets and Forest City Ratner, and repeated dutifully by journalistic outlets like the New York Times.

What about the cut?

The cut in the agreement, to $200 million and unspecified "certain fees," got covered in a few media outlets. The Times barely covered the story; it referred to "an additional sum" and later reported the Nets claimed "that the bank’s total annual payments, including fees for other rights, remain unchanged."

No evidence was cited. The available evidence, as noted at bottom, suggests otherwise.

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Posted by eric at 10:32 AM

January 30, 2011

Barclays, proud sponsor of...

...integrity?

Really? Really?

No, not really.

Posted by eric at 6:11 PM

September 20, 2010

Bicycle Mischief Targets Barclays

The Wall Street Journal
by David Enrich and Paul Sonne

It would appear that the British megabank, none too popular in Prospect Heights, isn't wowing them at home, either.

When British bank Barclays PLC agreed to shell out £25 million ($39 million) to sponsor London's new public bike-rental program, it envisioned the marketing benefits of seeing its sky-blue logo draped on thousands of cycles around the city.

But this week Barclays' prime marketing opportunity quite literally turned into a curse.

Londoners woke up Friday morning to find obscene stickers affixed to a number of the rental cycles. Attached to the bikes just above the bank's logo, the decals delivered a one-word message that, combined with the bank's name underneath, succinctly conveyed many Britons' anger toward the banking sector: "F– Barclays."

"There are fairly resourceful people out there, even if they've got potty mouths," said Matt Brown, a spokesman for Transport for London, which runs the city's extensive network of public buses, trains, boats and now bikes.

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NoLandGrab: First Bruce Ratner, now Barclays. To what do they owe their popularity? Visit Wooster Collective for NC-17 photos of London's rebranded bicycles.

Posted by eric at 6:19 PM

September 14, 2010

Ex-federal agent: Barclays, banks get "wrist slaps" for violating trade sanctions, but individuals should be held responsible

Atlantic Yards Report

Last month, I wrote how Barclays Bank PLC, has committed, as part of deferred prosecution agreements, "to forfeit $298 million... in connection with violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Trading with the Enemy Act."

Barclays voluntarily disclosed its long-running violations only eight months before the Atlantic Yards naming rights deal was announced. While the settlement was approved by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, it came after Sullivan a day earlier criticized it as "a sweetheart deal."

Who's responsible?

Today, former federal agent Robert Mazur, takes aim at the deal in a New York Times op-ed headlined Follow the Dirty Money. His point? Individuals should be held responsible.

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Posted by eric at 9:36 AM

September 7, 2010

Throw Your 'Diamond' in the Air! Barclays Bumps Bob to CEO Spot

NY Observer
by Mike Taylor

Barclays, the giant British criminal enterprise bank and Brooklyn icon, is getting a new Godfather CEO.

Barclays, the British banking giant that bought Lehman Brothers shortly after its September 2008 bankruptcy, today announced that John Varley would be stepping down as CEO on March 31. Bob Diamond (pictured with Jay-Z at the March 11 Atlantic Yards groundbreaking ceremony in Brooklyn) will succeed Varley.

Diamond, originally from Massachusetts, has been with Barclays for 14 years and currently serves as president in charge of corporate and investment banking and Barclays Wealth. He played a key role in Barclays' purchase of Lehman.

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NoLandGrab: And, let's not forget, a key role in Barclays' purchase of Bruce Ratner's arena naming rights.

Photo: Getty Images

Posted by eric at 9:59 AM

September 2, 2010

Why no company has signed a naming-rights deal with the Giants and Jets

New Jersey Newsroom
by Evan Weiner

Looks like Barclays was the last of the big-time spenders — and even they won't be spending anywhere near what they were once said to be spending.

Fred Wilpon is clearly one lucky owner although New York Mets fans will clearly disagree with that statement based on the on-field results of Wilpon's baseball team. Bruce Ratner was also one lucky owner while he controlled the New Jersey Nets basketball team although Nets fans will clearly disagree with that statement based on the on-court results of Ratner's Nets.

Both Wilpon and Ratner are in much better shape than the owners of the Giants (the Mara and Tisch families) and the Jets (Woody Johnson) in that they got two banks, Citibank and Barclay, to come up with a multi-year, multimillion dollar agreement for naming rights at Wilpon's Queens baseball park and Ratner's Brooklyn multi-purpose arena.

The Mara-Tisch-Johnson troika is still looking for a financial angel and if one major industry player is correct, it may be a long while before the East Rutherford, New Jersey home for the Giants and Jets along with the Arlington, Texas-based Cowboys Stadium and Major League Baseball's Nationals Stadium in Washington, D. C. will get naming-rights partners.

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Posted by eric at 10:17 AM

August 22, 2010

Yormark says Barclays deal was crucial to arena project (duh); note how FCR not only renegotiated but sweetened the pot

Atlantic Yards Report

I don't have access to Comcast, but the NetsDaily summary of an interview with Nets CEO Brett Yormark quotes him as saying, if Barclays had pulled out of the Brooklyn arena naming rights deal, "we wouldn't be here today."

Remember, the once-announced $400 million deal was reduced to $200-plus million, still crucial funding for arena construction.

And not only did the state simply give away naming rights, that benefit to Forest City Ratner (and now Mikhail Prokhorov's Onexim group) was never counted as a subsidy, not even by the New York City Independent Budget Office.

Renegotiating the deal

No wonder Forest City Ratner and Yormark were so willing to renegotiate the deal. Barclays, Yormark once told favored interviewer Alexis Glick, had never wavered--though that was before starchitect Frank Gehry left the project.

Two other signs of FCR's effort to sweeten the pot:

  • the subway/LIRR station naming rights agreement, paid for by the developer (not Barclays), to add Barclays Center to the Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street complex
  • the groundbreaking event extravaganza in March, aimed to boost Barclays, with Prokhorov barely mentioned

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Posted by steve at 12:20 PM

August 19, 2010

Barclays, beneficiary of what judge calls "sweetheart deal," agrees to pay $298 million to avoid prosecution for "trading with the enemy"

Atlantic Yards Report

And people were upset about "Citi Field?"

So Barclays Bank PLC, the "major global financial services provider," is in the news this week, and it's not because the company has committed more than $200 million to plaster its name on the in-construction Atlantic Yards arena, aka the Barclays Center.

Nor is it because Forest City Ratner has promised $4 million to add the Barclays Center name to the Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street transit hub.

Rather, it's because Barclays has committed, as part of deferred prosecution agreements, "to forfeit $298 million to the United States and to the New York County District Attorney’s Office in connection with violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA)," according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Essentially, the bank used subterfuge to let banks from Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and Burma, as well as prohibited persons, move money through the U.S. financial system.

The tab for Barclays might have been more, since it agreed to pay $176 million for other violations, but the DOJ press release described that as "concurrent," which means that the violator's obligations are satisfied via the $298 million. (The exact calculations of fines is ambiguous.)

None of the coverage, as far as I can tell, connected the Barclays prosecution with the firm's effort to establish a foothold in the United States via the Brooklyn arena. But this certainly casts doubts on Barclays as a "good corporate citizen," a term the Empire State Development Corporation used for Forest City Ratner, which has a murky role--with no charged wrongdoing--in the Ridge Hill corruption case.

The "sweetheart deal"

And while the settlement was approved yesterday by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, it came after Sullivan a day earlier criticized it as "a sweetheart deal."

"Why isn't the government getting rough with these banks?" the judge asked, according to the Wall Street Journal. He called it "an accommodation to a foreign bank, and that concerns me."

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Posted by eric at 9:35 AM

May 31, 2010

Barclays gags Guardian over tax

Injunction forces news website to remove seven leaked memos showing how bank avoided hundreds of millions of pounds in tax

The Guardian

Gustav Peebles, co-author of the Atlantic Yards-economic-bonanza-debunking Kim/Peebles Report [PDF], happened across this March, 2009 Guardian piece about Barclays, a company that makes BP look like the Park Slope Food Coop.

Barclays Bank obtained a court order early today banning the Guardian from publishing documents which showed how the bank set up companies to avoid hundreds of millions of pounds in tax.
...

The internal Barclays memos – leaked by a Barclays whistleblower – showed executives from SCM, Barclays's structured capital markets division, seeking approval for a 2007 plan to sink more than $16bn (£11.4bn) into US loans.

Tax benefits were to be generated by an elaborate circuit of Cayman islands companies, US partnerships and Luxembourg subsidiaries.

The documents had been leaked to Cable by a former employee of the bank, who wrote a long account of how the bank works.

The anonymous whistleblower wrote to Cable: "The last year has seen the global taxpayer having to rescue the global financial system. The taxpayer has already had a gun put to their head and been told to pay up or watch the financial system and life as we know it disappear into a black hole.

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NoLandGrab: Tax-cheating, gag-ordering British banks, Russian billionaire oligarchs "self-made" through back-room deals — such is the company Bruce Ratner keeps.

Posted by eric at 9:33 AM

May 13, 2010

Barclays Center Business Alliance Breakfast Club!

Those spammers over at Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment (aka BS & Entertainment) are at it again. This hit our inbox earlier today.

Good Morning,

Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment would like to extend a personal invitation to you and a guest to join us at an upcoming Barclays Center Business Alliance Breakfast Club event.  You will be extended the opportunity to meet company executives, your dedicated suite sales team, other NY metro area businesses, Brooklyn dignitaries, special VIP guests and Brett Yormark, President and CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment. The breakfasts will be held at the Junior’s in Brooklyn.

Please choose from the dates below and RSVP with the contact information provided.

  • Tuesday, May 18th – 8am (space is limited)
  • Wednesday, June 16th – 8am
  • Wednesday, July 21st – 8am

Call 646.616.9511 or email suites@brooklynse.com to reserve your spot.

We look forward to introducing you to a best in class experience and welcoming you to our family of Barclays Center suite holders.  Please visit www.barclayscenter.com for more information about our new arena in Brooklyn.

Posted by eric at 4:46 PM

April 30, 2010

Barclays Center Ad Campaign

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

DDDB has a little Photoshop fun with Barclays' recently launched taxi-top ad campaign.

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Related coverage...

Noticing New York, Barclaying Up The Wrong Tree: "Brutally Weird" Advertising That Hits “Home” In All The Wrong Ways

Who thunk that one up? (Clunk!) And what were they thinking? What were they thinking?
...

The advertising for the proposed Ratner/Prokhorov “Barclays Center” super-subsidized Nets basketball arena is so “brutally weird” to borrow a favorite trademark phrase from Norman Oder’s Atlantic Yards Report.

How incredibly tone deaf can an advertising copywriter be to promote what is one of the most notorious modern icons of eminent domain abuse as:

“Your Home Away From Home”

Posted by eric at 1:04 PM

April 21, 2010

Your Home Away From Home

BarclaysHomeAwayfromHome.jpg

As the last homeowner in the Atlantic Yards footprint was forced to sell his condemned property, the irony of the headline on this taxi-top advertisement, photographed today in Manhattan's East Village, was no doubt lost on the creative geniuses who dreamt it up.

Mad Men, indeed.

Posted by eric at 10:57 PM

April 5, 2010

Barclays' Bob Diamond under the gun in the UK; another look at his platitudes at the groundbreaking

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder follows up on recent criticism of Barclays President Bob Diamond emanating from the UK.

The Barclays Center naming rights agreement is a savvy form of deal-making. Consider the sequence:

  • The state (Empire State Development Corporation) gives away naming rights to Forest City Ratner
  • Forest City Ratner sells the naming rights to Barclays
  • Barclays uses the deal as a marketing platform to grow in the United States

Smart business, most likely. Public giveaway, for sure.

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Posted by eric at 10:11 AM

April 4, 2010

Lord Mandelson gets personal over banker’s pay

The Times of London
by Rachel Sylvester and Katherine Griffiths

Barclays President and Jay-Z fan Bob Diamond is catching some heat from the Lord for his excessive pay package.

Lord Mandelson has singled out the president of Barclays as the “unacceptable face” of the banking sector in one of the most vitriolic attacks on financiers since the financial crisis.

The Business Secretary, who said 12 years ago that Labour was “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich as long as they pay their taxes”, said that Bob Diamond was socially useless and paid an unjustifiable amount of money.

Mr Diamond, 58, who is American-born, is the number two at the bank and head of its highly profitable investment bank.

Lord Mandelson told The Times: “If you look at Bob Diamond, who took £63 million in pay — that to me is the unacceptable face of banking. He hasn’t earned that money, he’s taken £63 million not by building business or adding value or creating long-term economic strength, he has done so by deal-making and shuffling paper around.”

He added: “If anyone could justify that I’d like to see them do so. Just because somebody is very rich, it doesn’t mean to say different standards of morality apply to them.”

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NoLandGrab: Lord Mandelson apparently has a quaint, merry-olde-England sense of morality, since over on this side of the pond, different standards of morality most definitely apply to the very rich. Exhibits A and B: Ratner, Bruce and Prokhorov, Mikhail.

Posted by eric at 10:15 PM

March 28, 2010

Nets Arena Begins Construction -- Oops, No It Doesn't

If people are confused as to whether construction of a Nets arena has begun, it could be due to confusing media coverage.

Sun Sentinel, It cannot be easy being Yormarks
By Sarah Talalay

This first article, a quick look at the Yormark brothers, includes the trouble Nets CEO Brett Yormark has had in promoting perhaps the worst NBA team ever. The article seems to confuse a ground breaking with actual construction.

Brett has weathered the very public change in architects for the Nets’ planned Brooklyn arena from the world-renowned Frank Gehry to Ellerbe Beckett; difficult discussions to move the Nets on an interim basis to the Prudential Center in Newark from the Meadowlands; and continued delays on the Brooklyn project. Construction of the new arena did finally begin earlier this month.

The Star-Ledger, Nets president Rod Thorn still unsure whether he has a future with team
By Dave D'Alessandro

Dave D'Alessandro knows that arena construction has not begun and lets his readers know why.

The transfer of ownership is being held up by two things, as Thorn sees it: The Board of Governors won’t give its official approval until April 16th; and there is still a “vacant possession” issue, which means the transaction cannot be completed until the Atlantic Yards project footprint is completely vacated by area tenants, which cannot happen before April 3, according to one report.

“The land needs to be vacant,” Thorn said. “They said it is, but it isn’t.”

Posted by steve at 8:09 AM

March 16, 2010

Diamond’s shining moment amid the crisis

Financial Times
by Justin Baer

The FT profiles Barclays president, Jay-Z fan and Atlantic Yards groundbreaktaker "Diamond" Bob Diamond.

Bob Diamond sat patiently on the dais set on a cluttered construction site last week, as New York’s top civic and community leaders took turns praising the future home of Barclays Center, a sports arena to be built on Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards.

“It is with great enthusiasm,” bellowed Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn’s loquacious borough president, “that I introduce you to this shining diamond.”

Eighteen months before sharing a stage with rapper Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and New York mayor Mike Bloomberg, Mr Diamond stood under a different spotlight.

As president of Barclays, Mr Diamond starred in a thrilling chapter of the financial crisis: the UK bank’s frantic takeover of Lehman Brothers’ US securities business.

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Posted by eric at 10:19 AM

March 13, 2010

Barclays breaks ground with 18,000-seat basketball stadium in Brooklyn

The Guardian
By Andrew Clark

Barclay's President, Bob Diamond, will become another name in the list of those who claim to improve Brooklyn while they destroy it.

Seated alongside rap star Jay-Z, Barclays president Bob Diamond beamed cheerfully as a soul rendition of the US national anthem was partially drowned out by the din of circling helicopters and noisy protesters.

In a marquee on a disused rail yard in the New York borough of Brooklyn, hundreds of dignitaries including the city's mayor gathered to watch a ground-breaking ceremony for an 18,000-seat basketball stadium to be named the Barclays Centre under a naming deal that has cost the British bank more than $300m (£200m).

...

But Barclays' brand-building efforts have not been universally welcomed. One New York City councillor, Letitia James, has suggested the bank's involvement is unwelcome in an area of ethnic diversity because it did business in South Africa during the early 1980s despite that country's regime of apartheid.

And some community activists have railed against the compulsory purchase of properties to redevelop Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards. Protesters outside the ground-breaking ceremony waved placards reading "stop the rape of Brooklyn" and heralding "the destruction of Brooklyn's soul day".

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Posted by steve at 7:42 AM

January 6, 2010

When it comes to details of the Barclays naming-rights deal, the Times plays "he said, she said," leaving Ratner with the last word

Atlantic Yards Report

A New York Times Sports section article today headlined What’s in a Naming Right? Certainly Not Cash discussed the lack of a naming-rights sponsor for the new Giants/Jets football stadium in the Meadowlands, and then gave Forest City Ratner some gentle treatment regarding its naming rights deal.
...

Who do you believe? The Nets or a document

The reporter on today's piece, Richard Sandomir, wrote a prominent article in January 2007 about the Barclays deal, but now treats the details as an episode of "he said, she said."

He writes:

The recession and the departure of the star architect Frank Gehry led to the renegotiation of some terms of the Barclays-Nets deal. According to a bond document, the arena naming rights were halved.

The Nets insist that they have given Barclays more for its sponsorship money and that the bank’s total annual payments, including fees for other rights, remain unchanged.

Have the Nets and Forest City Ratner--whose business relationship with the Times again went unmentioned--released any document that proves that claim? No. Until then, shouldn't the bond document be trusted as more authoritative?

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Posted by eric at 11:57 PM

What’s in a Naming Right? Certainly Not Cash

The New York Times
by Richard Sandomir

A Times story on the absence of a naming-rights sponsor for the new Giants/Jets football stadium in the Meadowlands touches on the Barclays deal for the planned Brooklyn arena.

For the Giants and the Jets, finding a naming-rights buyer for the new stadium will take time. If they planned to dedicate revenue from such a deal to help pay their construction debt, they will have to use money from other sources.

The market has been largely dormant and may never return to its prerecession peak, when Citigroup agreed in late 2006 to pay the Mets $400 million over 20 years to name the team’s ballpark Citi Field and Barclays followed soon after with a similarly priced deal to put its moniker on the Nets’ proposed arena in Brooklyn.

As Atlantic Yards Report will surely point out, the Barclays deal may never have been worth anywhere near $20 million per year. It surely isn't now, though the Nets still claim otherwise.

The recession and the departure of the star architect Frank Gehry led to the renegotiation of some terms of the Barclays-Nets deal. According to a bond document, the arena naming rights were halved.

The Nets insist that they have given Barclays more for its sponsorship money and that the bank’s total annual payments, including fees for other rights, remain unchanged.

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NoLandGrab: All but the most naive among us learned a long time ago not to believe anything that comes out of the Ratner/Nets industrial complex.

Posted by eric at 10:26 AM

December 8, 2009

The Barclays naming right deal may not be a record, after all; will the revised agreement get noticed by the Times, which puffed it?

Atlantic Yards Report

The most important issue regarding naming rights for the Atlantic Yards arena is why the state simply gave them away--because they were part of arena financing, an Empire State Development Corporation official said not-so-convincingly last July.

That deserves coverage. But also deserving of coverage. especially in the New York Times, is the revelation that the Barclays Center deal, once touted as record-setting, may not be a record, after all. Or, if it remains a record, it's by a fraction.
...

Now, however, we know the revised deal is $10 million a year for the arena plus other unspecified payments to the Nets. The total that is hardly double the deal in Atlanta and, given adjustment for inflation, may not even be any larger.
...

The New York Times and the New York Daily News, however, haven't reported on the revised deal, though they--especially the Times--has treated the previous deal as fact multiple times. Given the parent New York Times Company's business relationship with Forest City Ratner, some more skeptical coverage is in order.

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Posted by eric at 8:18 AM

December 5, 2009

Nets naming-rights deal at Brooklyn arena pays half of original figure

The Star-Ledger

Barclays has proclaimed it is committed to the proposed Nets arena. Perhaps the fact that they're paying half of what was originally announced for naming rights could be a factor.

The British-based Barclays Bank is paying half of what it originally agreed to for naming rights on a planned Brooklyn arena for the NBA's Nets team, a report in NorthJersey.com said.

The newspaper said the once-record $400 million naming rights deal was chopped to $200 million, according to a statement prepared by Goldman Sachs sent out to investors for the $900 million arena. The original $400 million deal would have shattered the record for the most lucrative deal for an indoor arena in the United States, according to the New York Post. Still, at $10 million a year, the renegotiated deal would be double what Prudential paid for naming rights on the Devils’ hockey arena in Newark, the report said. And the document indicates the New York Islanders could be another potential tenant.

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NoLandGrab: Yet to be rationally explained is how a hockey team will play in an arena that cannot accommodate a hockey rink.

Posted by steve at 8:13 AM

December 3, 2009

Did Barclays Get a Discount on Nets Naming Rights?

NY Observer
by Eliot Brown

Are the naming rights for Bruce Ratner's planned Nets arena worth what they used to be?

In January 2007, Mr. Ratner, Nets owner and developer of the planned $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, trumpeted a record-setting naming rights deal for the new $900 million basketball arena that would be the centerpiece of the project.

While Mr. Ratner's firm never released an exact number, it was widely reported that British bank Barclays would pay nearly $400 million over a 20-year deal to slap its name on the venue, which, at the time, was to be designed by stararchitect Frank Gehry. The move was a huge win for Mr. Ratner, a record price that would bring in a big injection of funds with a well-respected name.

But now, after a historic economic crash, lengthy project delays, and the dropping of Mr. Gehry as project architect, there's reason to think the deal is less than it once was.

According to documents related to the arena's financing that were released Thursday, Barclays will pay $10 million a year to the arena's owner for the 20-year deal. Looking solely at this, it would seem to make it a half-off discount, but there are a number of other untold fees paid directly to the Nets as part of the naming rights, according to the documents. Forest City Ratner declined to provide those numbers, and a spokesman for Barclays declined to comment.

Click through for more.

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Additional coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, After two renegotiations, Barclays naming rights agreement is $10 million a year (not $20 million, never formally confirmed)

Well, the Barclays Center Project Preliminary Official Statement (see p. 38 and 78-79) indicates that the 20-year Barclays Center Naming Rights Agreement was renegotiated twice and is worth $10 million a year.

(The document was acquired by Eliot Brown of the New York Observer, who quotes Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, spinning as always, as asserting the value is more because it includes "the arena, team and hospitality assets." Sure. But they're not saying $20 million a year.)

Other previous evidence of sweeteners: the addition of Barclays to the bond deal and the naming rights agreement for the Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street station.

By the way, the New York Times just this week asserted the agreement was for $20 million a year.

NoLandGrab: A pie-in-the-sky estimate for the number of annual arena events. An incredible-shrinking-naming-rights deal. These one-notch-above-junk bonds are looking junkier by the day.

Posted by eric at 3:02 PM

September 1, 2009

not exactly the Bedford Falls Building and Loan

Fans For Fair Play

Scott M.X. Turner dissects Barclays CEO Bob Diamond's recent interview with the Star-Ledger's Steve Politi.

Diamond repeated carefully-parsed talking points: Ratner's the man, the recession has been tough on poor Bruce, Big Evil Community Opposition has slowed the project.

There were, however, a couple of newsworthy and cringeworthy sentiments.

Diamond let slip that Barclays has seen the newly-revised designs for Ratner's arena. Yes, the designs that aren't supposed to exist and can't be made available for public scrutiny before the state agency overseeing the project votes to re-affirm the it. Wacky Barclays, letting the cat out of the knickers, or torch or wireless or lift or jumper or whatever mistakenly-spilled beans are called in Merry Olde.

Then there was this from Diamond: "The original intent...was branding. We wanted to continue to enhance the brand of Barclays and do something in New York, where the majority of our clients are. There were many opportunities when it came to naming rights, and what really tripped our trigger on this one was the recovery of Brooklyn and a community that was really quite poor. It not only fit our need to brand, but it fit the fact that we like to give back to the community."

  • The "recovery of Brooklyn"? When was the last time Bob Diamond set foot in Brooklyn? During the '77 Blackout? Brooklyn's been doing fine all by our lonesome, clawing back one block, one small business, one family at a time, without Ratner's help, never mind Barclays'. (And if Diamond says "hey, I live in Brooklyn," then those blinders he's wearing must be way too tight.)
  • "The original intent was branding" Well goodness, all this time we thought it was Jobs, Hoops and Housing. Glad this has all been about flying that blue eagle in neon over the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic.
  • "tripped our trigger" The shepherd's pie falls even closer to the tree...
  • "a community that was really quite poor" What community are you talking about, Bob? The Black community? The public-housing community? The immigrant community? Any community that stands between you and Barclays' exciting new branding offensive?
  • "It fit the fact that we like to give back to the community" If Barclays hasn't actually been here before (outside of those Middle Passage profit margins in the 17th century), to whom are you giving back? Nothing a like a bank that prides itself on big ol' helpings of warm and fuzzy paternalism.

article

Posted by eric at 9:14 PM

August 30, 2009

Barclays reaffirms commitment to AY arena; company head calls community "poor" and predicts 2011 season opening date

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder assesses statements from Barclays about the proposed Nets arena.

Barclays PLC President Bob Diamond tells Star-Ledger columnist Steve Politi that, while delays on the planned Brooklyn arena for the Nets are "agonizing and frustrating," the banking company remains committed to the Barclays Center.

That's not surprising--Barclays wants its name around the media for branding purposes--but Politi apparently didn't ask if the naming rights deal, reported at $400 million over 20 years, had been renegotiated.

[Addendum] As noted in March and last November (when Barclays recommitted), the bank may have renegotiated the naming rights deal down. With and since that recommitment, there have been a couple of sweeteners: Barclays got a piece of the bond deal and a naming rights deal for the subway station bordering the arena site.

...

Notably, Diamond said he had seen the new arena design, via Ellerbe Becket and (apparently) an unnamed additional firm, and while less preferable than Frank Gehry's design(s), he was fine with it.

That means that, while the public hasn't had a chance to see designs or a site plan during the comment period (which ends Monday) on the Modified General Project Plan, the developer and its partners have seen them. More importantly, the New York Police Department hasn't yet had a chance to weigh in on security issues.

...

Diamond said, "we think it's the 2011 season that it'll be open." Well, maybe in the second half of the 2011-12 season, but I think the best-case scenario is a 2012 arena opening--and it's unlikely the team would move across state lines late in the season.

Politi reports:
"The original intent ... was branding," he said. "We wanted to continue to enhance the brand of Barclays and do something in New York, where the majority of our clients are. There were many opportunities when it came to naming rights, and what really tripped our trigger on this one was the recovery of Brooklyn and a community that was really quite poor. It not only fit our need to brand, but it fit the fact that we like to give back to the community." (Emphasis added)

Which community exactly was "really quite poor"? The community that Forest City Ratner recruited via housing advocacy group ACORN?

Or the people living in and around what Chuck Ratner of parent Forest City Enterprises calls "a great piece of real estate" and where there have been numerous speculative market-rate condos built lately?

link

Posted by steve at 11:04 AM

Barclays still behind Nets' plans for Brooklyn moveStar Ledger

Star Ledger
By Steve Politi

A constant feature in the Atlantic Yards fight is the attempt by project boosters to give the proposed project an air of inevitability. This article seems to be an attempt by Barclays to use that strategy.

Barclays president Bob Diamond called the delays on the new Brooklyn arena for the Nets "agonizing and frustrating," but he said the banking giant remained committed to the controversial project.

And, yes, Diamond is better than you. He is allowed to have exclusive access to the arena design. The public at large has to review the project without knowing this crucial information.

Diamond said that he had seen the new design of the arena - which has yet to be revealed to the public - and while he preferred the original Frank Gehry-designed project, he was satisfied with the plans.

Note in this statement how "I know" would have been much more reassuring for project supporters than "I think."

"As it finally resolved all the hurdles, then it was tough to get any construction money from the banks," he said. "I think we're in a good place now, but absolutely, it was frustrating and we would have preferred it to be accelerated. But as a partner, we think (owner) Bruce Ratner did everything he possibly could do, and we're very strong partners with him."

When is financing for the arena ready? "Fairly soon" is fairly vague.

Diamond, speaking before the third round of The Barclays golf tournament at Liberty National in Jersey City, said the he expected financing for the project would be "set fairly soon." The arena is expected to cost $800 million.

The article goes on to point out why there is good reason for Barclays to be less than certain as to the future of an arena for the Nets. Indeed, who can say for sure at this time what Barclays has agreed to pay for naming rights for the arena?

The Nets remain committed to moving to Brooklyn, but legal challenges from the community have prevented the team from breaking ground. The project now faces two important dates: An Oct. 14 hearing before the New York Court of Appeals dealing with eminent-domain issues and a Dec. 31 deadline to begin work in order to qualify for tax-exempt bonds.

Barclays agreed to pay a reported $400 million over 20 years for naming rights to the new arena in January 2007. That was before the collapse of the financial markets put the Atlantic Yards project in peril.

For all the talk of being "strong partners", Barclays still knows where the find the exit in its relationship with developer Bruce Ratner.

Barclays can opt out of the naming-rights deal if construction has not started by then, but Diamond said yesterday, "We won't be walking away." He said the project remains important for the company's profile.

link

Posted by steve at 10:19 AM

July 8, 2009

Barclays buys rights to Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street station name

The Times (UK)
By Christine Seib

Barclays, which is keen to develop its brand in the US, has paid to have its name added to one of the busiest subway stations in New York in the first deal of its kind.

Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street Station in Brooklyn will have Barclays added to its already lengthy moniker after the British bank paid more than $300 million (£185 million) for the naming rights to a nearby sports stadium — the 18,000-seat Barclays Centre.
...
The change will not come into effect until the stadium opens in 2012. As part of its deal with Barclays, Forest City Ratner, the developer of the venue, threw in the naming rights to the station.

article

Posted by lumi at 4:36 AM

July 7, 2009

Brooklyn subway stop named for British bank

CNN.com

Bruce Ratner's naming-rights deal with Barclays and the MTA is spreading the controversy around Atlantic Yards to those who are wary of commercialization of the public domain.

Several subway riders are outraged that Barclays has purchased the naming rights to this subway stop, which sees about 10 million people go through it each day.

One straphanger said, "A London Bank shouldn't be the name of this train station; it's something that belongs to the public domain."

Another said, "It's just everywhere we go, everything we do, it's just branding, branding, branding. It's America now."

Renaming the Atlantic-Pacific Station is tied to the construction of Barclays Center, the new sports arena for the National Basketball Association's New Jersey Nets.

article/video

Posted by lumi at 6:10 AM

June 28, 2009

How did Barclays sign that naming-rights deal?

The Brooklyn Paper
By Cristian Fleming

Posted by steve at 8:12 AM

June 11, 2009

Barclays to stuff Nets deal?

TheDeal.com

With sponsorships out of favor for big banks, it comes as little surprise that the National Basketball Association's New Jersey Nets should fear the possibility of Barclays plc (NYSE:BCS) abandoning the team's plans to move to Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Nets, which currently play in the New York suburb of East Rutherford, N.J., have had plans to move to Brooklyn on the table ever since 2004 when real estate dealmaker Bruce Ratner and rap impresario Jay-Z bought the team for $300 million (The Deal Pipeline subscribers see additional details). Part of that deal included a $400 million, 20-year naming rights agreement with the British bank.

However, the plans to move to Brooklyn have been blocked first by activists opposed to the arena's construction and then by the credit crisis. The latest "pick" is a Dec. 31 deadline to issue tax-free bonds to build the arena, notes New Jersey newspaper The Record. If the bonds aren't issued, then Barclays may seek a fast break from the deal.

article

NoLandGrab: If the bonds aren't issued by December 31st, then there likely will no longer be any deal from which Barclays could seek a fast break.

Posted by eric at 6:29 PM

March 31, 2009

Noticing Noticing New York

Gehry Leaks

Michael D. D. White explores the history of Frank Gehry's buildings and leaks. In Cambridge, MA, Gehry blamed the leaks on "value engineering," which doesn't bode well for two Forest City Ratner projects — Beekman Tower (or "Stump," depending on where it tops out) and Atlantic Yards — both of which are currently getting the value-engineering treatment.

Here is prediction that somebody should perhaps be making about the Beekman. Have you watched the way water runs down mountainsides in a heavy rainstorm? Look at how the Beekman facade has channels that will collect rivuleting water into expanding streams, especially when pushed around by wind. We really can’t help ourselves; we are expecting that there may be water problems at the Beekman. As water cascades down the side of the building where will the water go? Leaks into the building’s interior may not be the only problem.

That’s what we were thinking before word came out that the Beekman may be redesigned and built at only half its originally planned height. Where are we now? All we can say is happy value engineering!

Former AIG Executive’s Whereabouts: Quick Note on Scandal Follow-up Questions We Hope Are Being Asked

Commentary on AIG, Barclays and the Nets arena naming-rights deal:

What makes this a windfall paid for at U.S. Taxpayer expense is the fact that, in a self-dealing fashion, AIG executives routed substantially more money to Barclays than it deserved. We said in our previous article:

As people closely following the scandal know, AIG has been routing federal bailout money around the world and to Wall Street, essentially buying favor with big firms and banks by unnecessarily paying 100% on the dollar to extinguish collateral obligations which should have been extinguished with much lower negotiated discount sums. This has turned into windfall infusions of cash, a counterintuitive reward for financial companies who (foolishly?) placed their bets on AIG’s unregulated derivatives and CDO division being sound.

...
Adding our two cents to the points [Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn] made, we found, with respect to those [retention] bonuses, another analogy with respect to Atlantic Yards (like the AIG scandal, also a product of New York’s “FIRE” sector- Finance, Insurance and Real Estate culture). We asked why the executives who steered AIG into the mess thought they were entitled to be retained (through bonuses) to clean up that mess. This, we said was the same thing as the financially teetering Forest City Ratner executives expecting that they have some sort of propriety right to clean up the mess they very consciously created in Prospect Heights and Fort Greene.

Posted by lumi at 5:02 AM

March 29, 2009

Follow the Money

The Architect's Newspaper Blog

Sometimes things slip past us. This blog entry is from March 17, but wasn't posted here on NoLandGrab. This dreadful oversight is now corrected. Here's your chance to again contemplate how taxpayer money is helping to pay for the naming rights to the basketball arena of the proposed Atlantic Yards project.

And you thought the bonuses were the worst part of the AIG bailout. If you happen to oppose Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project, it turns out that there might be bigger fish to fry, as the gang over at Develop Don’t Destory Brooklyn are blaming the bailout for helping to keep the notoriously nascent project afloat.

In a press release, DDDB argues that because AIG paid $8.5 billion of its $170 billion federal bailout to Barclays, and Barclays is paying $400 million to Ratner for the naming rights of the arena, Ratner is therefore receiving $400 billion from the federal government. DDDB’s Dan Goldstein put it thusly:

Why are TARP bailout funds flowing through AIG to a British bank to Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises for a billion dollar arena in Brooklyn? Why are federal taxpayers being forced to pay for Barclays’ marketing scheme? There is no justification for it, especially as TARP funds are supposed to spur banks to start lending again, rather than prop up activities such as the Barclays-Ratner boondoggle. The federal bailout of AIG was not intended to assist Barclays in hyping its brand in Brooklyn, or to help them slap their logo, for 20 years, no less, on a basketball arena already heavily dependent on city, state and federal subsidies.

Granted, it seems like a bit of a stretch to us–and Aristotle, too–no matter how fungible money is.

UPDATE: Then again, we’ve been wrong before. Both the Bergen County Record and Daily News look into the bailout connection, which seems to pass their smell test. News columnist Juan Gonzalez connects the dots:

link

Posted by steve at 7:24 AM

March 27, 2009

The Barclays naming rights deal may be well under $400 million after all

Atlantic Yards Report

Maybe, as British news report with an unnamed source indicates, Barclays Capital would pay much less than the reported $400 million for the Atlantic Yards arena naming rights deal

One of the lingering questions of the AY saga is why Barclays has stuck with the deal so steadfastly. Sure, they believed--not without evidence--that a Brooklyn arena might be a way to splash their name across America.

But they signed up in January 2007 for a Frank Gehry arena, not an "inspired by Frank Gehry arena" or a "Frank Gehry arena produced by architects who happen to work for someone else."

So as New Jersey Nets CEO (Chief Exaggeration Officer, to NLG) Brett Yormark does damage control about Gehry's role, maybe Barclays has already renegotiated the deal downward.

Gumby Fresh blogger Gari N. Corp makes a cameo as he tries to explain why a Barclays PR flack might have initimated to a reporter for a British publication that "we're not on the hook for anywhere near as much. We're not that mental."

article

Additional coverage...

Gumby Fresh, Name Over

Let's go back that old set of arena projections, shall we (you can find a discussion here)? We see that the developer was looking to meet between $30 million and $35 million of the arena's then-projected (and probably too low) $43 million in yearly debt service with sponsorship revenue, which would presumably include the naming rights. Any reduction in the naming rights' contribution to this already meager total might be fatal.

Posted by lumi at 6:39 PM

British press watch

The Independent, Row grows in Brooklyn over Barclays' Nets deal
The Barclays naming-rights deal scandal has been reported in the British press.

Building Desgin Online, Foster and Gehry hit as New York projects go on hold

Frank Gehry's misadventure leads an article in a British architecture trade publication:

Speaking to US-based publication the Architect’s Newspaper, Gehry said: “The Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn—I don’t think it’s going to happen.

“There are projects underway that are being threatened, and may not be completed. That would be devastating to me. Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles is also on hold.”

Gehry, who turned 80 earlier this month, has since issued a statement saying his comment was “misconstrued as a prediction of the future of the Atlantic Yards development”.

It read: “All of us at Gehry Architects New York are immensely proud of our work with our client Forest City Ratner on the Atlantic Yards Project and remain hopeful that it will come to fruition in the very near future.”

Earlier this month, Gehry admitted he had been forced to cut staff numbers at his practice by 50% over the last year as projects were stopped or stalled.

His comments came as a number of high-profile developments hit trouble in New York.

Posted by lumi at 5:12 AM

March 24, 2009

Pascrell asks Treasury to force Barclays to bail on Ratner arena naming-rights deal

Yesterday, NJ Congressional Representative Bill Pascrell sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, asking that the government step in to force the cancellation of Barclays $400 million naming-rights deal for Bruce Ratner's new Nets arena.

There are four main distinctions between the Barclays and CitiGroup-Mets deals, both valued at $20 million per year over 20 years:

Here are links to and highlights from the coverage:

The NY Observer, Jersey Pol Takes Swipe at Bruce Ratner's Arena Deal

...New Jersey electeds have generally refrained from publicly disparaging the plans, at least in the past couple years. But now, with the more than $4 billion project on death watch due to the economy and a lengthy legal battle, there seems to be a change in tune.

Today, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell publicly released a letter he wrote to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, requesting that the Obama administration act to block Barclays bank from leasing naming rights for the arena—a move that, if realized, would be a major blow to the project.

The NY Times, Congressman Wants Barclays-Nets Deal Scrapped

Pascrell said in a telephone interview: “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 A.I.G. bonuses.”

Barclays and the Nets signed their 20-year deal in early 2007, two months after Citigroup signed its $400 million deal with the Mets to put its name on Citi Field. Citigroup has received $45 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program funds. Barclays got its bite out of TARP from A.I.G., but has not taken bailout money in Britain.

In the Barclays’ situation in Brooklyn, Pascrell said, “A shovel hasn’t been put into the ground, the agreement has an escape clause and no money has been exchanged.” He added, “The secretary has to appeal to these people.” Pascrell said he would consider legislation “as a last resort” if Geithner cannot persuade Barclays to drop out.

The Bergen Record, Pascrell seeks cancellation of Brooklyn arena naming rights

“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,” wrote Pascrell. “Federal money was made available to banks and companies like AIG in order to stabilize the financial system and free up credit markets, not for high-priced marketing opportunities.”

NY Newsday, NJ lawmaker seeks cancellation of arena name deal

In a letter Monday, Pascrell, a Democrat from Paterson, told Geithner he believes any further payments of taxpayer money to financial firms should be contingent on cancellation of any sports naming rights deals.

Atlantic Yards Report, On Barclays/AIG, NJ Congressman vaults story into media; Yormark spins regional benefits, affordable housing

Norman Oder traces the growth of this story and counters Nets CEO Brett Yormark's argument that Atlantic Yards represents "benefits for the entire region":

A new arena would compete with the already-built Prudential Center for a finite number of events. The city's rationale for subsidies is that the arena would poach tax revenues from New Jersey. It's surprising that more New Jersey officials haven't glommed on to Pascrell's media gravy train.

DDDB.net, Yormark Says Arena Will Provide Housing

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn notes that, in his official statement to the press, Nets CEO Brett Yormark is trying to sell the Barclays naming-rights deal as a regional jobs and affordable-housing program.

Nets Daily, Congressman Asks for End to Barclays Naming Rights

Here's one opposing view.

NJ.com, Whose money is it?

So why punish Barclays? Barclays not only didn't receive any corporate welfare here, but they didn't need a bailout from their own government. When they needed additional funds, they got them the old fashioned way - they convinced investors to invest in them.

NoLandGrab: Yeah, they got funds the old-fashioned way — they struck a deal with investors in Qatar and Abu Dhabi who could end up owning almost a third of the bank, in order to avoid at all costs having to answer to UK bank regulators.

Posted by lumi at 6:00 AM

PRESS RELEASE: PASCRELL REQUESTS GEITHNER INTERVENE IN NAMING RIGHTS AGREEMENT BETWEEN BARCLAYS, PROPOSED NETS ARENA IN BROOKLYN

PASCRELL: FEDERAL MONEY FOR FINANCIAL STABILITY, NOT PRICEY MARKETING SCHEMES

WASHINGTON—U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) today requested that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner intervene in the naming rights agreement between Barclays PLC and the proposed Atlantic Yards arena in Brooklyn on the grounds that Barclays is the recipient of $8.5 billion dollars in bailout money from U.S. taxpayers through credit default swap payments by AIG.

“I believe that any further payments of taxpayer money, whether through TARP or the Federal Reserve System, be conditioned on the cancellation of any stadium or arena naming-rights agreements that may be in place,” stated Pascrell a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means. “Federal money was made available to banks and companies like AIG in order to stabilize the financial system and free up credit markets, not for high priced marketing opportunities.”

[The text of the letter can be found after the jump.]

March 23, 2009

The Honorable Timothy F. Geithner
Secretary of the Treasury
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 3134
Washington, DC 20220

Dear Secretary Geithner:

I am writing to request that the Department of Treasury take all appropriate and legal steps to reign in the questionable business practices engaged in by Barclays PLC. Specifically, Barclays plans on spending almost $400 million for the naming rights to the proposed Atlantic Yards arena in Brooklyn, despite recently receiving $8.5 billion dollars in bailout money from U.S. taxpayers through credit default swap payments by AIG.

As you are aware, Barclays is one of the world’s largest financial services companies. While the company is headquartered in London, it has operations that stretch across six continents, including a significant presence in the U.S. Like most banks, Barclays’ business has suffered and continues to weaken as a result of the current global economic crisis, leading to thousands of employees being laid off worldwide, including here in the United States.

However, this has not stopped the company from moving ahead with their plan to spend $400 million over the next twenty years to have their name on an arena. This situation is aggravated by the fact that the arena’s construction will be financed, in part, by taxpayer dollars. Considering Barclays’ financial position, the recent revelation that they have received almost $8.5 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars through AIG, and that taxpayer money will be contributed to the funding of this stadium project, I believe that allowing this naming rights deal to remain in place makes little sense for both taxpayers and Barclays.

I understand that the Treasury Department allowed CitiGroup, which had a similar naming rights agreement with the New York Mets in place, to move forward even after receiving federal bailout money.

However, unlike that deal, construction on the Atlantic Yards arena has not yet broken ground. Furthermore, press reports indicate that the agreement between Barclays and the Atlantic Yards arena includes an opt-out clause and no money has exchanged hands.

I believe it is appropriate for the U.S. to request that Barclays cancel this naming-rights agreement as a result of the payments made to it through AIG and respectfully request that you take action to that effect. Furthermore, I believe that any further payments of taxpayer money, whether through TARP or the Federal Reserve System, be conditioned on the cancellation of any stadium or arena naming-rights agreements that may be in place. Federal money was made available to banks and companies like AIG in order to stabilize the financial system and free up credit markets, not for high priced marketing opportunities. We must do everything in our power to ensure that taxpayer money is being effectively utilized to restore our economy and return our country to prosperity.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information. I thank you for your attention to this matter, and look forward to the favor of your reply.

Sincerely,

Bill Pascrell, Jr.
Member of Congress

Posted by lumi at 5:08 AM

March 19, 2009

Follow the money...

The Brooklyn Paper, Tish: Follow the money

Councilwoman Letitia James has found a Brooklyn angle on the nation’s populist outrage against AIG, calling on the British bank Barclays to not use the billions in taxpayer funds funneled to it by the insurance giant on its $400-million naming rights deal at the proposed Atlantic Yards arena.

James (D–Fort Greene) condemned any use of the federal bailout — officially, the Troubled Assets Relief Program — for anything other than jump-starting the economy.

“TARP money is for banks to start lending again, not for Barclays to polish its corporate identity,” said James.

The Daily News I-Team Blog, Trickle-down economics in Brooklyn

Backed by Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn's flowchart graphic and Councilmember Letitia James' statement, the "I-Team" explains why Barclays' naming-rights deal for the Atlantic Yards arena doesn't pass the smell test:

American taxpayers spend $170 billion to bail out AIG, which spends $8.5 billion to help Barclays, the huge British bank that is choking on its own financial woes. Barclays then says it will honor its $400 million naming-rights deal for Nets owner Bruce Ratner’s proposed Brooklyn arena.

Posted by lumi at 6:03 AM

March 18, 2009

Naming deal for arena criticized because of bailout money

NorthJersey.com [Bergen Record]
by John Brennan

DDDB got a fair amount of traction with its press release yesterday connecting the dots between US taxpayers and Bruce Ratner's planned Barclays Center arena.

AIG’s distribution of $8.5 billion in federal bailout money to Barclays Bank means Barclays should call off its $400-million naming-rights deal for a proposed Brooklyn arena, project critics charged Tuesday.

A spokesman for Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn — a group which for several years has protested the Atlantic Yards arena and housing project — questioned the propriety of Barclays’ continued financial interest in the plan.

The New Jersey Nets are slated to be the marquee tenant at the proposed arena.

“Why are federal taxpayers being forced to pay for Barclays’ marketing scheme?” Daniel Goldstein, the spokesman, asked in a statement. “The federal bailout of AIG was not intended to assist Barclays in hyping its brand in Brooklyn, or to help them slap their logo for 20 years on a basketball arena already heavily dependent on city, state and federal subsidies.”
...

Spokesmen for the Nets and Barclays each declined to comment Tuesday.

article

More coverage...

NY Daily News, Looting goes far beyond bonuses: AIG doled out payments to a small group of banks, including UBS

For those who have forgotten, Barclays is the bank that agreed back in 2007 to pay $400 million in a 20-year naming rights deal for Forest City Ratner's proposed new basketball arena in Brooklyn.

Last November, in the midst of a world financial meltdown, and with prospects for Ratner's Atlantic Yards project looking bleaker than ever, Barclays reaffirmed its intention to spend that $400 million for what is essentially vanity advertising.

So just around the time Barclays receives $8.5 billion from AIG's bailout package, the British firm decides to go forward with its naming rights deal in Brooklyn.

If it ever gets built, we should call it the American Bailout Arena, for the old ABA, where the Nets got their start.

Even as millions of Americans lose their jobs, homes and retirement savings, these jackals are paying themselves off with our money.

Urbanite [amNY blog] Critics slam Nets arena deal with bank that got AIG funds

Add one more voice to the anti-AIG outrage.

Atlantic Yards Report, The AIG to Barclays story has legs

Posted by eric at 10:03 AM

March 17, 2009

DDDB PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Taxpayers To Pick Up Tab for Barclays' Vanity Project

AIG Bailout to Fund Barclays' Naming Rights Deal For Bruce Ratner's Proposed Barclays Center Arena

BROOKLYN, New York — On Sunday troubled insurance giant 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.

“Why are TARP bailout funds flowing through AIG to a British bank to Clevland-based Forest City Enterprises for a billion dollar arena in Brooklyn? Why are federal taxpayers being forced to pay for Barclays' marketing scheme? There is no justification for it, especially as TARP funds are supposed to spur banks to start lending again, rather than prop up activities such as the Barclays-Ratner boondoggle,” said Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn spokesman Daniel Goldstein. “The federal bailout of AIG was not intended to assist Barclays in hyping its brand in Brooklyn, or to help them slap their logo, for 20 years, no less, on a basketball arena already heavily dependent on city, state and federal subsidies.”

link

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 News reported 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.

“When Congressman Frank learns of yet another instance of fungible bailout funds going towards a lucrative naming rights deal, we expect that he will not be pleased and will quickly take action,” Goldstein concluded.

Posted by eric at 11:17 AM

March 16, 2009

Money: Taxpayers to AIG to Barclays to Ratner

From Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn:

Atlantic Yards Report, Are American taxpayers paying for the Barclays Center naming rights deal?

Are American taxpayers paying for the Barclays Center naming rights deal?

Well, if money's fungible, you certainly could say so.

Posted by lumi at 7:24 PM

March 10, 2009

Is a U.S. Government bailout paying for Barclays Center naming rights?

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder declares that money is still fungible, which means that the report that Barclays Bank received a cut of the US Federal bailout funds through AIG and then reaffirmed the arena naming-rights deal with Ratner's NJ Nets is a BIG DEAL:

The money was not directly funneled into the arena naming rights. But if money's fungible, and last time I checked it was, whatever benefit Barclays gained could be redirected to other ventures. (And, as DDDB notes, Barclays will benefit from a bailout from the U.K. government.)

Maybe that's why Nets CEO Brett Yormark was always so confident Barclays would stick with the deal.

article

NoLandGrab: Keep in mind that the public and political outcry over Citibank's naming-rights deal with the Mets was for a done deal. Barclays' contract with the Nets allowed the British bank to walk away from the deal back in November, but it didn't. FYI: Both deals are valued at $20 million/year for 20 years.

Posted by lumi at 7:06 AM

March 9, 2009

New name for Nets arena? How about "U.S. Taxpayer Bailout for U.K. Bank Center"?

Barclays got a share of U.S. bailout money to AIG last fall at the same time the Brit bank re-affirmed its deal to pay Nets $400 million for its name on Brooklyn arena.

The Smart Asset [Village Voice financial blog]
by Ward Harkavy

While the cloud hanging over the U.S. economy grows bigger and darker, it's comforting to know that precious American tax dollars are flowing to British bank Barclays. Are they helping to prop up Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards, too?

Working both sides of the Atlantic, British behemoth Barclays got sneakily paid off by U.S.-taxpayer-financed bailout funds late last year given to whiny insuror AIG, and now Barclays is negotiating, of course, to get U.K. government help in getting rid of toxic assets.

It turns out that while the U.K. conglomerate was getting a share of the bailout money, it recommitted last November its deal to pay $400 million to the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets for naming rights to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. "Barclays still loyal to Nets' cause," the Bergen Record trumpeted on November 13:

"Barclays is unwavering in its commitment to the Barclays Center and we are very pleased with our long-term alliance with our great partners, the Nets and Forest City Ratner Companies," Barclays chief administrative officer Gerard LaRocca said in a press release. "We are excited about being part of the continued renaissance of Brooklyn, and we eagerly look forward to opening night at Barclays Center."

(Sidelight: Bank of America, which also got part of the AIG bailout money, last month called off its similar naming-rights deal with the Yankees.)

Whether Bruce Ratner will continue with construction of the Barclays Center may be in question, but at least the foreign bank was able to get U.S. bailout money more or less under the table.

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Posted by eric at 7:32 PM

February 3, 2009

Mets plan to honor partnership with Citigroup

Newsday
By Wallace Matthews

In his defense of the Citi Field naming-rights deal, an official for the Mets flunks his audition to be a contestant on Jeopardy:

The federal government may have bailed out Citigroup, but the Mets insist they're not bailing on their $400-million naming rights deal with the bank whose name adorns the walls of their new ballpark, Citi Field.

"We're committed to our agreement with Citi, and Citi has indicated it is committed to us," said David Howard, the Mets' vice president for business affairs. "They're our partners and both sides are going to live up to the agreement."
...
Howard said the Mets believe Citi is being "unfairly singled out," and rattled off a list of 12 financial institutions - including Barclays Bank, which bought the naming rights to the still-unbuilt Atlantic Yards complex in Brooklyn - as examples of companies that took the money but have thus far escaped public criticism.

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NoLandGrab: Howard may be interested to know that Barclays is a British bank headquartered in the United Kingdom, which is commonly found in Europe.

Barclays has not been the recipient of federal bailout money and, allegedly in order to maintain control over executive pay, has yet to receive assistance from the Bank of England.

Posted by lumi at 4:51 AM

January 21, 2009

Could the Barclays Center become Her Majesty's Arena?

Here are a couple stories regarding the plight of Barclays, proud holder of the naming rights to the would-be arena at the center of Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project. A major bailout by the Bank of England might be the only thing standing between Barclays and bankruptcy.

FT.com, Barclays remains under pressure

Barclays fell another 9 per cent on Wednesday afternoon as fears about the health of the banking sector following the government’s latest bail-out persisted.

The UK’s second largest bank, which has more than halved in a week, closed 6.8p lower at 66.1p. Earlier in the session the bank’s shares had fallen as low as 47.4p, a fall of 35 per cent, amid speculation it could bring forward its annual results statement. The bank, which turned down the opportunity to participate in the government’s bank rescue earlier this week, is due to release full-year results on February 17.

That 47.4 pence per share, equal to about 65 cents, matches a low not seen since 1985.

Worries about the banks’ potential exposure to further significant writedowns and the creeping threat of nationalisation have put the sector under pressure all week, but other banking stocks managed an afternoon rally on Wednesday.

Bloomberg News, Barclays Falls Seventh Day on Nationalization Concern

Barclays Plc, the U.K. bank that turned down government funding last year, declined for a seventh straight day in London trading on speculation that it may be forced to take more writedowns and be nationalized.

Barclays, which dropped as much 35 percent earlier in the day, recovered to close down 9.3 percent at 66.1 pence. The shares have lost 57 percent this month, valuing the company at 5.5 billion pounds ($7.5 billion).

Barclays last week said it would beat analysts' consensus 2008 earnings estimate of 5.3 billion pounds. Some are skeptical that Barclays could do that when other banks are writing off billions.

“There is genuine fear from shareholders, who see a real risk of nationalization,” said Simon Maughan, an analyst at MF Global Securities Ltd. who has a “sell” rating on Barclays. “The whole rest of the world, operating in the same business as Barclays, has seen significant losses. There is talk that Barclays will bring its results forward to prove its case. Bring it on.”

NoLandGrab: Wonder what the Nets' marketing rep's job will be on "A Day in the Life" of Barclays? Helping tear up the arena naming-rights contract, perhaps?

Posted by eric at 3:28 PM

January 19, 2009

Two years later, a look at the promise by Barclays of a 2009 arena opening

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder looks back:

When this Barclays Center ad appeared exactly two years ago in daily newspapers, the arena sponsor promised that its "gift" to Brooklyn was "technically not until 2009, but our excitement can hardly be contained."

At the time, I wrote that, given potential delays from lawsuits and other factors, 2009 might better be seen as a goal than as a given.

That was probably conservative. In retrospect, there was little chance to meet the 2009 goal. Now there's little chance to meet the stated 2011 goal, nor to produce something that looks like this picture any time soon, if at all.

article

Posted by lumi at 5:24 AM

November 14, 2008

Barclays recommits to naming rights agreement, but details are scant

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder briefly summarizes and analyzes recent events.

On the Barclay's naming-rights deal:

The deal had to be renewed by the end of the month and there was at least speculation that Barclays might reconsider.
...
Despite a statement that Barclays was "unwavering" in its commitment, it's reasonable to question whether Barclays, which had some leverage and has faced losses of its own, renewed at the previously announced $400 million ($20 million a year over 20 years) figure.
...
I'd bet they managed a better deal of some sort.

A new twist in the arena financing:

The press release also stated that "Barclays continues to play a major role as the co-lead in the financing of the Barclays Center," which is news to me, since previous news coverage described Goldman Sachs as the lead. Has Goldman tried to spread the risk, reward, and responsibility of getting the deal done?

Stock watch:

I imagine that officials at parent company Forest City Enterprises hoped that the announcement might nudge investor confidence. Instead, the stock went down more than 5%, to $7.16, continuing a stunning decline.

English-to-English translation service:

Barclays "affirmed its commitment to the future arena in Brooklyn and the updated timeline for a 2009 groundbreaking."

In translation, "updated timeline" means "delayed timeline."

Layoffs:

Also, Forest City Ratner has begun layoffs, and while the following information can't be confirmed, a commenter on NetsDaily stated, "It may be good that the Nets are going to Brooklyn. But I happen to know they let go of almost ten key internal employees earlier this week and several that were selling for the new arena suites and seating."

I'm also told--secondhand, but from a source I consider reliable--that the fellow occupying the Atlantic Yards Community Liaison Office has departed.

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NoLandGrab: Former Forest City employees may be able to send their resumes to the NJ Nets for a shot at free tickets.

Posted by lumi at 6:21 AM

BANK: WE WON'T BAIL OUT ON NETS ARENA

NY Post
By Rich Calder

Barclays bank vowed yesterday not to exercise an out clause and kill its record $400 million naming-rights deal for the venue, the centerpiece of developer Bruce Ratner's $4 billion Atlantic Yards project.

The deal was contingent on Ratner's having financing for his entire project - which also includes 16 towers of residential and office space - set by the end of this month. That is now impossible because of pending litigation to block the project.

But sources told The Post that Barclays agreed to an extension.

article

The Star-Ledger, Harris ready to help New Jersey Nets

Seeking to dispel doubts about the Atlantic Yards project, the Nets issued a short release yesterday quoting Barclays Chief Administrator Officer for the Americas that reiterated the bank's pledge to carry on. "Barclays is unwavering in its commitment to the Barclays Center, and we are very pleased with our long-term alliance with our great partners," said Gerard LaRocca, whose institution has committed $400 million to the deal.

Posted by lumi at 6:14 AM

PRESS RELEASE: Barclays Affirms Steadfast Commitment to Arena in Brooklyn and 2009 Groundbreaking

Says Support for Atlantic Yards is "Unwavering"

Via, MarketWatch

Barclays, a leading global financial services company and the naming rights partner for the future Barclays Center, today affirmed its commitment to the future arena in Brooklyn and the updated timeline for a 2009 groundbreaking. The Barclays Center, which is designed by Frank Gehry, will be the world-class home of the Nets.

"Barclays is unwavering in its commitment to the Barclays Center and we are very pleased with our long-term alliance with our great partners, the Nets and Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC)," said Gerard LaRocca, Chief Administrative Officer, Americas, at Barclays Capital, the investment banking division of Barclays PLC. "We are very excited about being part of the continued renaissance of Brooklyn and we eagerly look forward to opening night at the Barclays Center."

"Since we announced our 20-year naming rights partnership in January 2007, Barclays has offered nothing but resolute and great support," Nets Chief Executive Officer Brett Yormark said. "We deeply appreciate our partnership with such a well-respected and distinguished company, which shares our love for Brooklyn and our strong sense of community." "We are thrilled to have Barclays as a partner," said Bruce Ratner, chairman and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies, a subsidiary of Forest City Enterprises, Inc., and the chairman of Nets Sports and Entertainment, LLC, which owns the Nets. "The Barclays Center will be one of the most spectacular sports and entertainment arenas in the world. Even more importantly, it is a centerpiece of a development that will bring thousands of jobs and affordable housing units to Brooklyn." Forest City Enterprises (NYSE: FCEA and FCEB) has an equity interest in Nets Sports and Entertainment. In addition to its naming rights commitment, Barclays continues to play a major role as the co-lead in the financing of the Barclays Center. Momentum for the Barclays Center continued recently when the Internal Revenue Service issued a new regulation that confirms that tax exempt bonds may be used to finance the arena. The multifaceted partnership among Barclays, the Nets, and FCRC includes the Barclays/Nets Community Alliance, which invests $1 million per year in local non-profits that work to improve the lives of young people in Brooklyn and surrounding communities through sports and other activities, including education and health care. Last month, the Barclays/Nets Community Alliance unveiled a new playground at Public School 19 in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, which marked the first of eight Brooklyn playgrounds that the Alliance will fund with a grant to Out2Play, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to building and refurbishing playgrounds throughout the New York City public school system. Information on the Barclays Center can be found at www.barclayscenter.com . SOURCE Nets Basketball

http://www.barclayscenter.com

Posted by lumi at 4:33 AM

November 13, 2008

Barclays Reaffirms Support Of Atlantic Yards Project

Financial Firm Is OK With 2009 Groundbreaking Date

Brooklyn Daily Eagle
by Raanan Geberer

Even as observers speculate about the effect of the economic crisis on Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Yards arena-highrise project, Barclays Thursday reaffirmed its commitment to the arena, to be called the Barclays Arena, the intended home for Bruce Ratner’s Nets basketball team.

The announcement by Forest City Ratner also said Barclays has affirmed its commitment to “the updated timetable for a 2009 groundbreaking.” As recently as May, Ratner had vowed to break ground on the arena in the fall, according to the Daily News.
...

Of particular interest in Thursday’s announcement was the statement, “In addition to its naming rights commitment, Barclays continues to play a major role as the co-lead in the financing of the Barclays Center.” A spokesman for Barclays did not answer questions, but Barclays, of course, is heavily involved in the financial industry.

Dan Goldstein of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, one of the major groups opposing the Atlantic Yards project, commented, “They [Forest City] don’t have the land, they don’t have the money. I’m not sure what Barclays is committing itself to, except for a money pit. Forest City also said they would begin the project in 2006, so we’ll see what happens.”

A spokesman for Forest City Ratner was unavailable for comment Thursday.

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NoLandGrab: Let us get this straight — Forest City issued a press release, and then was "unavailable for comment?"

Posted by eric at 9:21 PM

Barclays still committed to Nets' planned new home

Watchdog [Newsday Sports blog]
by Neil Best

Barclays asserts that it still is fully committed to the Nets' planned new arena, The Barclays Center, even given these difficult times for banks and stuff.

The race is on to begin construction before LeBron James signs with the Knicks.

Click below for the assertive news release.

Barclays, a leading global financial services company and the naming rights partner for the future Barclays Center, today affirmed its commitment to the future arena in Brooklyn and the updated timeline for a 2009 groundbreaking. The Barclays Center, which is designed by Frank Gehry, will be the world-class home of the Nets.

"Barclays is unwavering in its commitment to the Barclays Center and we are very pleased with our long-term alliance with our great partners, the Nets and Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC)," said Gerard LaRocca, Chief Administrative Officer, Americas, at Barclays Capital, the investment banking division of Barclays PLC. "We are very excited about being part of the continued renaissance of Brooklyn and we eagerly look forward to opening night at the Barclays Center."

Since we announced our 20-year naming rights partnership in January 2007, Barclays has offered nothing but resolute and great support," Nets Chief Executive Officer Brett Yormark said. "We deeply appreciate our partnership with such a well-respected and distinguished company, which shares our love for Brooklyn and our strong sense of community."

article

NoLandGrab: It's great that Barclays is "unwavering" in its commitment, but the release doesn't make clear that they're remaining contractually committed to the naming-rights deal.

There is news here, though, in the assertion that "Barclays continues to play a major role as the co-lead in the financing of the Barclays Center," a role that seemed to have been the exclusive domain of Goldman Sachs. Divvying up the underwriting doesn't exactly scream "done deal" now, does it?

“We are thrilled to have Barclays as a partner,” said Bruce Ratner, chairman and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies, a subsidiary of Forest City Enterprises, Inc., and the chairman of Nets Sports and Entertainment, LLC, which owns the Nets. “The Barclays Center will be one of the most spectacular sports and entertainment arenas in the world. Even more importantly, it is a centerpiece of a development that will bring thousands of jobs and affordable housing units to Brooklyn.” Forest City Enterprises (NYSE: FCEA and FCEB) has an equity interest in Nets Sports and Entertainment.

In addition to its naming rights commitment, Barclays continues to play a major role as the co-lead in the financing of the Barclays Center. Momentum for the Barclays Center continued recently when the Internal Revenue Service issued a new regulation that confirms that tax exempt bonds may be used to finance the arena.

The multifaceted partnership among Barclays, the Nets, and FCRC includes the Barclays/Nets Community Alliance, which invests $1 million per year in local non-profits that work to improve the lives of young people in Brooklyn and surrounding communities through sports and other activities, including education and health care. Last month, the Barclays/Nets Community Alliance unveiled a new playground at Public School 19 in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, which marked the first of eight Brooklyn playgrounds that the Alliance will fund with a grant to Out2Play, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to building and refurbishing playgrounds throughout the New York City public school system.

Posted by eric at 7:16 PM

October 21, 2008

SCHOOLS' NETS GAIN

NY Post
by Rich Calder

The Nets have yet to start building their long-delayed Brooklyn arena, but team brass are breaking ground on posh playgrounds at public schools.

The first of eight being funded with $150,000 from Nets owner Bruce Ratner and Barclays Bank, which has naming rights to the new arena, is set to be unveiled today at PS 19 in Williamsburg.

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Posted by eric at 10:59 AM

How Barclays might renegotiate the Brooklyn arena naming rights deal

BarclaysAd-sm.jpg Atlantic Yards Report

How a cheeky Dear-Bruce-ole-chap letter to renegotiate the naming-rights deal for the "Barclays Center" might go:

Frankly, we're a bit wound up.

We read those pesky blogs and soon recognized you were talking a fair bit of bollocks. The arena was never going to open in 2009. We put 2010 in our shedules.

Then we read those blogs again and learned that 2011 might be a more accurate date. Now we hear that 2012 is a more likely best-case scenario.

It's time to take another look at our contract.

As you know, the document we signed was contingent on your getting financing sorted out by the end of November.

To put it politely, things are looking a bit dodgy right now, for you and, frankly, for us.

more!

Posted by lumi at 6:32 AM

TODAY: Barclays, Nets and Forest City Ratner unveil new playground

From the Bergen Record reporter Al Iannazzone's blog, "In the 'Zzone":

The Barclays/Nets Community Alliance and Forest City Ratner will unveil a new playground at Public School 19 in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn tomorrow at 11 a.m. It's the first of eight Brooklyn playgrounds that will be funded in part by Barclays/Nets Alliance.

link

Posted by lumi at 6:18 AM

October 14, 2008

Barclays Plans to Raise More Than 6.5 Billion Pounds

Bloomberg.com
By Ambereen Choudhury

Though Barclays Bank was originally on the list of banks to receive assistance from the British central bank, yesterday Barclays announced that it hoped to raise the capital it needs through the private market:

Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Barclays Plc, the U.K.'s second-biggest bank, plans to sell more than 6.5 billion pounds ($11 billion) of shares to private investors without turning to the government for help, and said it won't pay a final dividend for 2008.

"The board expects that the additional capital will be raised from investors without calling on the government funding which has been offered to U.K. banks,'' the London-based bank said in a statement today.
...
Barclays will issue preference shares to raise 3 billion pounds by Dec. 31, and will sell ordinary stock to raise about 600 million pounds to fund the purchase of some of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.'s assets. The bank will also issue new ordinary shares to raise a further 3 billion pounds by March 31, 2009.

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NoLandGrab: The condition of Barclays Bank has been of interest to Atlantic Yards watchdogs because, in January 2007, the bank signed a $400-million arena-naming-rights deal with Bruce Ratner.

Barclays can still walk away from the deal if Ratner is unable to complete financing by the end of November.

Will balance-sheet triage cause Barclays to bail on the arena deal or will Barclays execs feel that they need the branding boost for the Lehman Brothers acquisitions?

Stay tuned...

Posted by lumi at 4:47 AM

October 10, 2008

BEEP REAPING BIG AS YARDS BACKER

ARENA-PLAN GROUPS BOO$T HIS PROJECTS

NY Post
by Rich Calder and Chuck Bennett

All this time, we thought Marty Markowitz was all-in on Atlantic Yards because he missed the Dodgers so much. Wrong!

Being the biggest booster of Brooklyn's controversial Atlantic Yards project has really paid off for Borough President Marty Markowitz.

Since 2003, Nets owner Bruce Ratner and others involved in the $4 billion plan for an NBA arena and 16 apartment and office towers in the heart of Brooklyn have quietly funneled at least $680,000 to three nonprofit groups set up by Markowitz to run pet projects, a Post investigation found.

The pet projects -- which include promoting tourism and offering free concerts -- have been instrumental in boosting Markowitz's popularity and getting him re-elected, critics charge.

"Affiliated nonprofits should not be used as pseudo campaign accounts," said Dick Dadey, of the government watchdog group Citizens Union. "One could argue that these nonprofits raise the profile of the borough president in a way that certainly aids his possible campaigns."

article

Posted by eric at 1:06 PM

Barclays Bank on British bailout list

From yesterday's Dallas Morning News:

On Tuesday, Britain started injecting about $88 billion of capital into several large banks in what amounts to a partial nationalization. The British government will get preferred shares for its money in lenders such as the Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and HBOS.

NoLandGrab: So if the Brits bail out Barclays Bank and Barclays doesn't walk away from the $400-million arena naming-rights deal it signed with Bruce Ratner, and if Ratner gets the triple-tax-exempt bonds he's looking for, then Atlantic Yards would end up being directly or indirectly subsidized by NY City, NY State, the US Federal Government and the British central bank. Incredible.

Posted by eric at 5:03 AM

September 30, 2008

Bad Economy Could Lead to Naming Rights Changes

Sports Business Radio

Host Brian Berger picks up on the NY Post's coverage today of how the latest delay to Atlantic Yards might affect the Barclays naming-rights deal.

You may recall that the Nets, who are co-owned by hip-hop mogul Jay-Z are hoping to make a serious run at signing LeBron James when he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2010. They were also hoping to open the Barclays Center in the fall of 2010 and unveil their new superstar at the same time.

Now that plan seems to be in serious jeopordy. You can bet that if the $400M naming rights deal from Barclays goes away, the Nets will have to rethink this entire project - and their ability to sign someone like James to a max contract.

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Posted by eric at 4:09 PM

March 13, 2008

At the Brooklyn Museum gala, honors for (and $ from) Bruce Ratner

Atlantic Yards Report

If you have $1000 or more to spend, you can attend the Brooklyn Museum's Brooklyn Ball 2008 on April 3, honoring developer Bruce Ratner and celebrating the opening of an exhibition billed as "the most comprehensive retrospective to date of the work of internationally acclaimed Japanese artist Takashi Murakami."

BrooklynBall.jpg

Controversial development company Forest City Ratner (FCR) and the locally loathed Atlantic Yards project has its fingers all over this gala event:

Three of the eight co-chairs have a connection to Ratner, including rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z, who owns a piece of the Nets; FCR president Minieri; and Brett Yormark, president of Nets Sports & Entertainment.

Among the vice-chairs are Barclays Capital, which has signed a naming rights deal for the Atlantic Yards arena, Nets Sports and Entertainment, and, of course, Forest City Ratner.

article

Posted by lumi at 6:14 AM

March 19, 2007

PRESS RELEASE: BARCLAYS BANK BOYCOTT TO PROTEST EMINENT DOMAIN ABUSE

BarclaysBoycott.gifBrooklyn, NY 3/19/07 New York Libertarian Party leaders Richard Cooper and Gary Popkin call for a nationwide boycott of Barclays Bank due to its participation in the eminent domain abuse scheme of Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards. Barclays, a British bank with branches in America, agreed to pay the developer Forest City Ratner over $305 million for naming rights to the Nets basketball team’s arena over a thirty-year period. Libertarian State Chair Cooper notes that millions of Americans were outraged by last year’s Kelo decision by the Supreme Court upholding eminent domain transfers to private developers. The Libertarians offer an opportunity to demonstrate opposition in a material way.

Brooklyn-Queens Libertarian Party Chair Popkin dubs “…the Barclays participation in eminent domain is an outrage as a private enterprise disrespecting property rights.” Popkin notes that controversy was stirred in Brooklyn because of the sordid past of the British bank in the slave trade. He declares that “The actions of the bankers of centuries past do not taint the arena. It is participation in the eminent domain scheme that taints whoever participates in it.”

Cooper continues, “To Libertarians, corporate sports welfare and eminent domain abuse are legalized theft, stealing from taxpayers and landowners. Barclays chose to become an accomplice of Bruce Ratner. They should both bear the outrage of indignant Americans who favor freedom and justice.”

The Libertarian Party of New York has fought eminent domain that would have dispossessed St. Luke’s Pentecostal Church on Long Island and a neighborhood in New Rochelle to make way for an Ikea Swedish furniture store, besides the NY Times headquarters scheme that Cooper dubbed “Time$cam.” Cooper and Rev. Fred Jenkins of St. Luke’s will speak on the church’s victimization and how the Libertarian Party helped them at the state convention to be held Saturday, April 28th at the Radisson MacArthur in Holtsville, Long Island.

link

Posted by lumi at 7:06 AM

February 9, 2007

Slavery? Apartheid? Barclays deal is wrong for other reasons

This week, blogger Stuart Schrader headlines The Brooklyn Paper's Letters section with his take on the Barclay's scandal:

A sounder — though less-sensational — argument against the [Barclays Bank naming-rights] deal is this: using the arena to advertise this bank is contrary to the economic reality of most Brooklynites. Ordinary folk simply have no reason to care about Barclays’ boast that in 2006, it was named “Inflation Derivatives house of the year, Commodity Derivatives house of the year, and Currency Derivatives house of the year by Risk magazine.” Say what?

Forest City Ratner garnered support of many low-income African-Americans for its mega-development by promising jobs and housing. Yet by selling the naming rights to a foreign investment bank with nary a U.S. consumer branch, FCR has shown its true colors.

Suddenly, the project is revealed to be less about the poor kids who will grow up in its shadow (literally), and much more about unfathomably rich investors

complete letter

Schrader goes into more detail about the gobal implications of the controversial deal on his blog, Picketing Henry Ford.

Posted by lumi at 12:00 PM

January 19, 2007

Barclays Center Ad

To tout its "investment" in the "Renaissance of Brooklyn," Barclays Bank "invested" in the Times (p. C5), Post (p. 11), Daily News (p. 21) and The Wall Street Journal (p. A7) with this get-to-know-you full-page ad (click to enlarge).

The headline is all hype: Barclays has purchased naming rights and will not "present" anything but an undisclosed sum, somewhere south of $400 million, to Bruce Ratner.

An advertising-industry expert estimates the total cost of Barclays' single-day ad "investment" at about $500,000, not a penny of which, so far as we can tell, went to "assist Brooklyn's youth."

Posted by lumi at 3:29 PM

Barclays and Nets Announce Partnership to Further Brooklyn Renaissance

Barclays Center Agreement Provides Significant Investment in Brooklyn and Advances Local Community Initiatives

Barclays-logo.gifFrom the Barclays & Forest City Ratner joint press release, via PR Newswire (complete release after the jump):

"We are very proud to be a partner with Barclays, a prestigious company that exemplifies and shares our commitment to excellence, leadership and success," said Bruce Ratner, President and CEO of FCRC and Chairman of the Nets.

NoLandGrab: Not to mention that the deal with Barclays constitutes a big slap in the face to the African-American community.

NEW YORK, Jan. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Barclays, a leading global financial services company, and the Nets, of the National Basketball Association, today announced a multi-faceted strategic marketing partnership that includes the 20-year naming rights to the Barclays Center, the planned centerpiece of the Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn. This will be the planned new world-class home of the Nets. The Barclays Center will feature a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment arena, designed by Frank Gehry, which will seat up to 20,000 people.

"Barclays is thrilled to partner with the Nets in this exciting endeavor. We are delighted to put our name to a development that will be a visual and economic landmark in the renaissance of Brooklyn," said Robert E. Diamond, Jr., President, Barclays PLC. "This opportunity brings together economic prosperity for Brooklyn and the chance to participate, in a unique way, in the cultural and sporting life of New York."

In addition to the agreement, Barclays has also agreed to partner with the Nets in the Nets-Barclays Sports Alliance, a non-profit organization whose goal is to promote athletics, education and personal development among young people in Brooklyn. The alliance will, as its first objective, repair and renovate basketball courts and other sports facilities throughout the borough, as well as sponsor amateur athletic tournaments and clinics for Brooklyn's youth.

This initiative mirrors the Barclays Spaces for Sports program in the UK, which helps local communities transform neglected land into the sporting facilities they want -- from skateboard parks to soccer fields or multi-use game areas. So far Barclays has opened more than 100 community sports sites across the UK.

"We are very proud to be a partner with Barclays, a prestigious company that exemplifies and shares our commitment to excellence, leadership and success," said Bruce Ratner, President and CEO of FCRC and Chairman of the Nets. "We believe this partnership marks an important moment in Brooklyn's history and its place on the international stage. With this essential investment in Atlantic Yards and the borough, we are now one step closer to our goal of bringing thousands of jobs, mixed-income housing, and, of course, a world-class arena and franchise to Brooklyn."

"We are excited that one of the most respected global financial services companies has chosen to partner with an NBA team to demonstrate its commitment to the United States market as well as its desire to make a difference in the communities where it operates," said NBA Commissioner David Stern.

"This partnership is a defining moment for the Nets business and brand," said Brett Yormark, President & CEO of Nets Sports and Entertainment. "It truly strengthens our position as a leading sports and entertainment franchise. We could not be more pleased than to have a partner as distinguished and well-respected as Barclays."

Brooklyn is the most populous borough of NYC and the Barclays Center will provide retail establishments and commercial offices in the area. It will also serve as a venue for arts and other athletic events. The Barclays Center is expected to include an 850,000 square foot world-class arena, which is scheduled to open for the 2009-2010 NBA Season. The arena expects to host more than 200 events annually, many of them family-oriented. The new partnership covers 20 years from the Nets' first season in their new arena, slated for 2009.

Barclays has been in the US for more than a century. Barclays Capital is one of the world's fastest-growing investment banks, focused on risk management and financing and has US headquarters in New York City. Barclays Global Investors, the world's largest asset management business, has its global headquarters in San Francisco, and Barclaycard, the credit card business, has its US headquarters in Wilmington, DE.

Sports are a significant part of the Barclays worldwide sponsorship portfolio, which includes The Barclays, the PGA TOUR event at the Westchester Country Club scheduled for August 20-26 this year. In addition, Barclays sponsors The Barclays Scottish Open golf tournament at Loch Lomond, the Barclays Singapore Open golf tournament and the Barclays Premiership, the world's leading soccer league.

About Barclays PLC

Barclays PLC is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail and commercial banking, credit cards, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services. We are one of the largest financial services companies in the world by market capitalisation. With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 60 countries and employs around 120,000 people. We move, lend, invest and protect money for over 25 million customers and clients worldwide.

About Barclays Capital

Barclays Capital is the investment banking division of Barclays Bank PLC which has an AA long-term credit rating and a balance sheet of over US$1.8 trillion. With a distinctive business model, Barclays Capital provides large corporate, government and institutional clients with solutions to their financing and risk management needs. Barclays Capital has the global reach and distribution power to meet the needs of issuers and investors worldwide. Barclays Capital Inc. is a member of the NASD and SIPC.

About Barclays Global Investors

Barclays Global Investors is one of the world's largest asset managers and a leading global provider of investment management products and services. It has over 2,800 institutional clients and over $1.6 trillion of assets under management. It transformed the investment industry by creating the first index strategy in 1971 and the first quantitative active strategy in 1978. BGI is the global product leader in Exchange Traded Funds (iShares) with over 180 funds for institutions and individuals trading in 13 markets. Globally, it has $222 billion of iShares assets under management.

About Barclaycard

Barclaycard has more than 15 million retail customers world wide including more than 3.2 million in the U.S. through affinity programs. Barclaycard US is one of the fastest growing credit card issuers in the U.S. with more than 40 existing card partnerships with some of the most successful companies in the U.S.

For further information please visit: http://www.barclayscenter.com/ http://www.barclays.com/ http://www.barcap.com/ http://www.barclaysglobal.com/ http://www.barclaycardus.com/

Barclays, Barclays Center, Barclays Capital, Barclays Global Investors, iShares and Barclaycard are trademarks of Barclays Bank PLC.

About Forest City Ratner Companies

FCRC is a subsidiary of Forest City Enterprises, Inc., an $8.5 billion NYSE-listed (ticker: FCEA & FCEB) national real estate company. Forest City Enterprises is principally engaged in the ownership, development, management and acquisition of commercial and residential real estate and land throughout the United States.

About the Nets

The Nets are a member of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The team reached the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003 and has advanced to the playoffs for five consecutive seasons. The Nets currently play at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, NJ.

Forward-looking statements (Barclays)

This document contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the US Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and Section 27A of the US Securities Act of 1933, as amended, with respect to certain of Barclays plans and its current goals and expectations relating to its future financial condition and performance. These forward-looking statements can be identified by the fact that they do not relate only to historical or current facts. Forward-looking statements sometimes use words such as 'aim', 'anticipate', 'target', 'expect', 'estimate', 'intend', 'plan', 'goal', 'believe', or other words of similar meaning. Examples of forward- looking statements include, among others, statements regarding Barclays future financial position, income growth, impairment charges, business strategy, projected levels of growth in the banking and financial markets, projected costs, estimates of capital expenditures, and plans and objectives for future operations.

By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to future events and circumstances, including, but not limited to, global as well as US economic and business conditions, market related risks such as changes in interest rates and exchange rates, the policies and actions of governmental and regulatory authorities, changes in legislation, and the impact of competition -- a number of which factors are beyond Barclays control. As a result, Barclays actual future results may differ materially from the plans, goals, and expectations set forth in Barclays forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statements made by or on behalf of Barclays speak only as of the date they are made. Barclays does not undertake to update forward-looking statements to reflect any changes in Barclays expectations with regard thereto or any changes in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based. The reader should, however, consult any additional disclosures that Barclays has made or may make in documents it has filed or may file with the SEC.

Safe Harbor Language (FCRC)

Statements made in this news release that state the Company or management's intentions, hopes, beliefs, expectations or predictions of the future are forward-looking statements. It is important to note that the Company's actual results could differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements. Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward- looking statements include, but are not limited to, real estate development and investment risks, economic conditions in the Company's core markets, reliance on major tenants, the impact of terrorist acts, the Company's substantial leverage and the ability to service debt, guarantees under the Company's credit facility, changes in interest rates, continued availability of tax-exempt government financing, the sustainability of substantial operations at the subsidiary level, significant geographic concentration, illiquidity of real estate investments, dependence on rental income from real property, conflicts of interest, competition, potential liability from syndicated properties, effects of uninsured loss, environmental liabilities, partnership risks, litigation risks, risks associated with an investment in a professional sports franchise, and other risk factors as disclosed from time to time in the Company's SEC filings, including, but not limited to, the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2006. Website: http://www.barcap.com/ Website: http://www.barclayscenter.com/ Website: http://www.barclays.com/ Website: http://www.barclaysglobal.com/ Website: http://www.barclaycardus.com/

Posted by lumi at 7:43 AM