Citigroup's $50 Million Plane
Last month, the AP mentioned that unlike the car companies that were feeling the heat over their private jets, bailed-out financial firms were still flying high. That run seems to be over with the news that Citigroup has spent $50 million on a Dassault Falcon 7X, which it ordered two years ago. The French jet seats 12 in leather seats and and has a top speed of 559 mph.
Michigan's senior senator Carl Levin was angry over the news. He sees the fact that Citigroup can buy a new jet while receiving a multibillion dollar bailout as a double standard since Michigan's automakers have been forced to sell their planes. Levin plans to ask new U.S. Treausry Secretary Timohty Geithner to do what he can to block the sale. So far Citigroup has received $45 billion in government funding. According o the NY Post, Citigroup is trying to sell two of their older Dassault 900EXs which are worth an estimated $27 million each.
The bank said it has reduced its number of aircraft dramatically over the past eight years and that it would have to forfeit a deposit if it did not take delivery of the plane (the same rationale Starbucks used to justify its new Gulfstream 550 jet). A spokesperson for President Obama commented that the President does not feel that this type of spending is the best use of taxpayer assistance.
UPDATE: After receiving pressure from the White House, Citigroup has decided not to take possession of the new plane.