Cnbc's Bartiromo's Friendship With Fired Citigroup Exec Probed
Ethical questions are being raised over CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo's friendship and travels with Todd Thomson, a top Citigroup executive who was forced out last weekend. On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Thomson had been seen dining privately with Bartiromo and had flown back from Asia on a corporate jet with Bartiromo. The Journal quoted a CNBC spokesman as saying, "She asked permission from CNBC [to fly on the jet]. She received it. And payment was arranged." Shortly thereafter, it was reported that Thomson had agreed to Citigroup sponsorship of a program featuring Bartiromo and Robert Redford on Redford's Sundance Channel for $5 million. Bartiromo also made three speaking appearances at Citigroup events. Reporting on the matter, today's (Friday) New York Times observed that Bartiromo's associations with Thomson "have raised questions about Ms. Bartiromo's judgment in getting too close to the people and organizations that she covers." The newspaper said that Bartiromo also traveled on the Citigroup private jet following her coverage of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last year. CNBC told the Times in a statement that Bartiromo has made 43 other speaking appearances at corporate events for which she received no fee. "Her travel has been company-related and approved, and involved legitimate business assignments," CNBC said.