Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder is claiming one of the team’s minority owners is trying to extort him, per John Keim of ESPN.
Snyder’s latest court filing came one day after a Washington Post exposé detailed a $1.6 million settlement the franchise paid to an ex-employee over a sexual misconduct allegation. (The New York Times also reported on the settlement last weekend.)
Snyder is claiming that Dwight Schar, a minority owner, is trying to force the embattled owner to give up the team.
“I firmly believe that Plaintiffs’ motion and supplemental filing and the news articles that they have generated are the latest in the effort to extort me,” Snyder’s filing stated.
The alleged misconduct occurred on Snyder’s plane in 2009. Snyder is claiming the Post story wrongfully substantiated the incident. The New York Times reported that two separate investigations in 2009 (including one by the team) failed to validate the misconduct claim.
“The Post’s article includes several quotes from the filing that improperly give the misleading impression, based on Plaintiffs’ position and status, that there was merit to the allegations of misconduct. Plaintiffs’ purpose in submitting their supplemental filing is now clear: to try to continue to smear me in an effort to gain leverage in this business dispute,” Snyder argues.
Snyder has denied any wrongdoing. This past summer, the Post published two articles that included accounts from 40 women who said they were sexually harassed while working for the Washington franchise, including an incident featuring “lewd videos produced by the team from outtakes of cheerleader calendar shoots in 2008 and 2010,” which Snyder has denied knowing about.
The three minority WFT shareholders — Schar, Fred Smith, and Bob Rothman — are seeking to sell their stakes in the team. Together, they own about 40% of the franchise, which Snyder has reportedly offered to purchase for $900 million, per Keim. Forbes values Washington at $3.5 billion, meaning the 40% would be worth $1.4 billion.
In the court filings, Snyder directly accuses Schar of leaking information to the Post to smear him. Snyder claims, among other things, that Schar threatened to blackmail Snyder if he didn’t sell the team (a burner phone is involved, too).
All parties will be present for a hearing on Jan. 7 to argue who leaked what to the media. (Fun!).
“I am fighting on multiple fronts for interests that go beyond just me including for the Team that I love, as well as my family,” Snyder said in the filing, “and can swear to this Court that the accusations I improperly leaked information to the press are false.”
As Defector broke down earlier this week, this will likely all end with Snyder coming up on his price to buy out the minority owners, further tightening his grip on the franchise, and all the rich guys will get richer.
In football news, the 6-8 Washington Football Team can improbably clinch an NFC East title with a win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday,