Washington owner Dan Snyder is reportedly in talks to buy out his three minority partners as the two parties are entangled in a heated legal battle.
According to the New York Times, Snyder could buy back the 40% stake that the three partners — Dwight Schar, Robert Rothman and Fred Smith — are actively looking to sell.
Last month, Schar, Rothman and Smith sued Snyder for blocking a sale to an outside investment firm, an agreement that would have paid the three $900 million for their shares.
The New York Times reported Sunday that Snyder is prepared to buy the stake for $900 million.
If the deal goes through, the paper wrote Snyder would have “an even tighter hold” on the franchise, which Forbes estimates is worth $3.5 billion.
On Friday, a federal court in Maryland made a host of documents publicly available that further revealed how acrimonious the legal battle has become after a federal judge ordered them to be partially unsealed.
The documents, heavily redacted in portions, still demonstrate how contentious the battle has gotten between the two sides. One attachment includes a threatening text from John Moag, a financial consultant hired by the partners to handle the sale, to Snyder.
“Hey Dan — My lawyers sent me your filing in which you are representing yourself…,” Moag wrote. “If you continue your game, you know what I know about and what I have never spoken about. And you know it has nothing to do with the media [stuff] … it’s the more serious [stuff].”
According to the records made available in court, Snyder owns 40.6% of the team while his mother owns 6.5% and his sister owns 12.5%. Snyder controls his family’s voting rights.
Snyder has been at odds with three partners at least for the past eight months — one of the many controversies that the 56-year-old owner has faced in 2020. In June, he was reportedly angry that Schar, Rothman and Smith hired an investment banking firm to sell their shares and kicked the trio off the team’s board.
A month later, The Washington Post published the first of a series of stories in which former employees said they were sexually harassed while working for the team. More than 40 women have come forward, leading to the launch of an independent investigation into the team’s workplace.
Around that same time, Washington also officially retired its Redskins nicknamer after facing pressure from corporate sponsors and activists to change the name. FedEx, whose CEO is Smith, asked the team to abandon the name in early July and threatened to withdraw its sponsorship with the team.
Snyder, through legal fillings, has accused Schar of leading a smear campaign against him to get him to sell the team. According to the New York Times, Snyder targeted former employee Mary Ellen Blair in helping Schar coordinate that campaign.
The paper revealed the existence of a sworn affidavit from Blair in which she admitted to discussing a 2009 sexual harassment allegation against Snyder with Schar.
According to the paper, a former team employee accused Snyder of accosting her on a flight from Las Vegas to Washington in April 2009. Two investigations — one by the team and another by an outside law firm that was hired by the team — conducted in 2009 found the claim to be unsubstantiated. The team fired the woman for lying to its lawyers, according to the report.
But according to the New York Times, the team paid the woman a confidential financial settlement. As part of the deal, done to prevent the woman from suing, Snyder, the accuser and three others signed a nondisclosure agreement.
On Dec. 8, the Washington Post reported that the NFL’s current investigation into Washington’s alleged workplace misconduct uncovered the 2009 confidential settlement — though details of the case were not made public.
In September, the NFL took over the workplace investigation. Though it kept on lead investigator and high profile lawyer Beth Wilkinson, the league ordered Wilkinson to report her findings to them instead of the team. Washington hired Wilkinson and her law firm to launch an inquiry into the allegations in July.