On the field, the Washington Football Team is having their most promising season of the last few years.
The results have not been pretty, but they are on the cusp of clinching their first playoff-berth and NFC East title in five years.
But off the field, the dysfunction that has plagued the franchise for years has continued.
After the team dropped its nickname under immense public pressure this summer, the organization has been the focus of several damaging reports about the organization tolerating workplace misconduct and rampant sexual harassment.
Now, a fight between Washington’s majority owner Daniel Snyder and three minority owners who are trying to sell their stake in the franchise has entered fully into the public sphere.
However, for Washington Football fans hoping this could mean trouble for the franchise’s majority owner, Snyder may emerge from this dispute with a tighter hold on the franchise.
The fight began in May when Washington’s three minority shareholders, Frederick W. Smith (who owns 10 percent), Dwight Schar (15 percent), and Robert Rothman (15 percent), informed Snyder they were looking to sell their 40 percent stake in the franchise at a discounted rate of $900 million, The Washington Post reported.
Snyder would then kick the three owners off the team’s board in June, possibly as a result of them informing him of their interest in selling. A report from The New York Times in September indicated some of the minority owners may have soured on Snyder after he halted paying annual dividend checks.
New information about the in-fighting was revealed Friday after a U.S. District Court judge unsealed documents from the minority owner’s lawsuit against Snyder blocking their attempt to sell, following a request for access by The Post.
In court filings, Snyder alleges Schar schemed to leak negative information about Snyder’s personal life and operation of the team to the media in the hope that damaging information would force Snyder to sell his controlling stake in the team (40 percent), which would inflate the value of Schar’s 15 percent stake in the franchise, according to The Times.
The court filings show Mary Ellen Blair, an executive assistant for Snyder until 2017, was key to Schar’s plans, The Times reported.
One court filing obtained by The Post included a screenshot of a text message sent by the investor the three minority owners hired to handle the sale, John A. Moag, to Snyder which threatened to leak damaging information to the media: “If you continue your game, you know what I know and what I have never spoken about. And you know it has nothing to do about the media s--- ... it’s the more serious s---.
“If you want to get to a clean conclusion, let me know,” Moag wrote. “If you want a s--- show, we are on for that too.”
But rather than forcing Snyder to sell, the result of the now public in-fighting may likely be Snyder buying out the three other owners for $900 million, a discount of the $1.4 billion evaluation of that stake, and assuming total control of the Washington Football Team.