Citi Foreclosing on Ryan Lochte's Parents

Eddie Braverman's picture
Rank: The Pro | 21,117

Sometimes I think about what it must be like to be a PR flack for a TBTF bank. For the most part, it's probably just your average 9-5 gig staffed by people with a gift for the written word and a history of piss poor life choices. But every once in a while, coming into work has to feel like somebody's spraying battery acid in your eyes while a midget punches you repeatedly in the junk. I imagine that's what if feels like for the PR kids over at Citi right now, today.

You had to believe everything was going swimmingly (pun intended) for the PR crew over at Citi. First of all, the bank is a huge sponsor of the 2012 Olympics and that's great press. On top of that, the Americans are kicking ass, and there's this great rivalry between the legendary Michael Phelps and the new fair-haired son Ryan Lochte - and both of them came away with gold. Nothing could screw this hopeful narrative up, right?

Wrong.

Before Lochte even had a chance to towel off, Citi initiated foreclosure proceedings on his mom. I'm actually sitting here chuckling while I write that, not because the Lochte family's financial strife is in any way humorous (it isn't), but because some hungover chain-smoking flack at Citi headquarters now has to find a way to spin this so Vikram doesn't look like Darth Vader.

To be fair, the Lochte's quit paying on the house last year, so Citi is well within their rights to foreclose. But the optics on this foreclosure are absolutely ghastly from the standpoint of public perception. Are you really going to throw this family out on the streets after this kid won gold in London?

It's a no-win situation for the bank. If they don't foreclose, every other deadbeat is gonna want the same break. If they do, they look like total jerkoffs. It's enough to make a PR guy wish he'd eaten a few less shrooms in college and maybe gotten a worthwhile degree.

What do you guys think? Should Citi foreclose? Do they have a choice? Or should they cut the Lochte's a break because their kid can swim? How would you guys spin this one if you were in PR?

Comments (19)

Aug 6, 2012

Sorry Lochte - even Olympic gold medal winners have to abide by the rules. Us commoners would probably get foreclosed on, so you should too.

Aug 6, 2012

I'm wondering why Ryan Lochte hasn't stepped up to help pay the mortgage, especially with all of his recent sponsorships. This seems like strategic default to me - but still looks really really bad for Citi.

Aug 6, 2012

This absolutely makes no sense coming from the parents of John Lochte.

Aug 6, 2012

Probably strategic, but they did divorce and the dad is an asshole so maybe he's not helping out...

Aug 6, 2012

They stopped paying in Feb. 2011 and they are JUST getting around to this? It seems to me that they already cut them a huge break in waiting that long to do anything about it. That is the issue right there. So yes, they are well within their right to foreclose on them and considering that Ryan Lochte is the next golden boy in swimming I'm sure that he will be able to pull a few endorsements and help rectify the situation for his parents.

It's horrendous timing but I really expect nothing less out of Citi at this point. If I were in PR I would have done what it seems they are doing which is start foreclosure as there is tons of other news around and hope it gets lost in the shuffle. That is really the only way you can spin it, besides the usual route of they are just like anyone else and we do not create special deals for anyone, blah blah blah.

Aug 6, 2012

Welcome to the real world!

Aug 6, 2012

Cable news will latch onto this harder than the "Olympians pay taxes" thing. Citi would do well just to quietly say that the foreclosure procedures were initiated in error, and that his parents qualify for some sort of mortgage modification program.

Of course Citi is well within their rights to foreclose. And it probably is a strategic default. But for Citi, just giving them the house outright is cheaper than the PR damage this will do. They should get on this fast though; the story should be tied up with a bow for the evening news.

Aug 6, 2012

If it was anything other than a strategic foreclosure, maybe Ryan should have sold his "grill"

Aug 6, 2012
D M:

If it was anything other than a strategic foreclosure, maybe Ryan should have sold his "grill"

Hey buddy , that grill has an American flag. Sounds like you hate 'murica? Do you hate 'murica?

Aug 6, 2012
<span class=keyword_link><a href=/company/goldman-sachs rel=nofollow><abbr title=Goldman Sachs&#10;>GS</abbr></a></span>:
D M:

If it was anything other than a strategic foreclosure, maybe Ryan should have sold his "grill"

Hey buddy , that grill has an American flag. Sounds like you hate 'murica? Do you hate 'murica?

I'm a hater, gonna hate

Aug 6, 2012

I'm watching parts of the olympics and there are Citi commercials every 10 minutes so the least they can do is not fuck themselves. TBTF aren't known for following the rules so they can probably ignore the procedure this one time to avoid the bad press.

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." - IlliniProgrammer

Aug 6, 2012

Kids worth millions. Money he's gonig to make in sponsorships can pay off that house in a second. Totally agree with Westcoast Rainmaker. All Citi will get is bad press. No win situation for them.

Sam

Aug 6, 2012

Ryan is worth ~$15M so I am assuming its strategic in which case no one should care.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Aug 6, 2012

USA

"If Henry Ford had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." -Steve Jobs

Aug 6, 2012

would love to get his take on it:

Aug 6, 2012

Eddie,

Why the sympathy for Lochte's family and their poor life choices regarding home ownership, but no sympathy for the PR drone and their poor life choices regarding education? I'm guessing they were both sucked in by dogma and predatory lending institutions.

Aug 6, 2012

I found the not so subtle PR jabs pretty hilarious...although I always thought the field was for bubbly girls and not guys who took a lot of shrooms in college.

Aug 8, 2012
Edmundo Braverman:

some hungover chain-smoking flack at Citi headquarters now has to find a way to spin this so Vikram doesn't look like Darth Vader.

What's wrong with being Darth Vader?

It's not the Harvard MBA, but what you do that defines you.

But who are we kidding, it's all HBS.

Aug 8, 2012
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