Could anyone tell me if the sentence "There was a rumor that Citibank is in debt." is grammatically correct ?
Please advise me. Some say it is correct while others say it is ungrammatical. I'm lost.
Someone is thinking of the alleged rule (I was taught Latin names for these English forms, so oratio obliqua) whereby the tense of the main verb forces the same tense in subordinate clauses. Andrew Leach says it doesn't exist, but perhaps I and your corrector are not the only ones who think it does. "He thinks she is pretty", but "He told her that she WAS pretty". So technically it should be, according to this school of misunderstood Latinity, "There was a rumour that Citibank WAS in debt", but if it still is in debt, one might decide to sacrifice the rule for the precision.
There was a rumour (at the meeting I just attended) that Brokenshire is (currently) in debt.
That would seem to me to be a perfectly valid construction.
But Six moths ago there was a rumour circulating that Brokenshire was (then) in debt.
This is entirely a question of which tenses sound right in the circumstances. But they do not have to match, for obvious reasons.