Daniel Snyder’s demands anger NFL owners, renew talks about his elimination


Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder and his attorneys have demanded that other NFL franchise owners and the league indemnify him against future legal liability and costs if he sells the team, two people have said. direct knowledge of the inner workings of the NFL and the attitude of the owners.

Snyder’s demands, which include a threat of a lawsuit if the indemnification condition is not met, have angered some owners and renewed discussion about the possibility of a vote to remove him from Commanders ownership if he is removed. does not sell the franchise, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the topic and the legal threat.

“He wants compensation if he sells,” one said, adding that the owners consider the request “ridiculous” and “absurd” and believe Snyder should indemnify the other owners for any legal claims that may arise. sound and team actions.

The owners would “definitely” be heading towards a vote to remove Snyder from ownership of his team if he didn’t sell the franchise, this person said. Such a vote would require the support of at least three-quarters of the owners. The other person who confirmed Snyder’s claims added that the dispute “could get messy.”

Commanders declined to comment Monday evening.

Tilman Fertitta is involved in the bidding for commanders

Snyder is also asking the NFL to keep the findings of the ongoing investigation by attorney Mary Jo White confidential, one of the people with knowledge of the situation said. The NFL said the findings of White’s investigation will be made public. This is the league’s second investigation into the team’s workplace and Snyder.

The NFL declined to comment.

According to one with knowledge of the situation, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is trying to broker a peace deal whereby Snyder would sell the commanders and leave the NFL without further acrimony. Jones has long been considered Snyder’s closest ally among his co-owners. The Cowboys did not respond to a request for comment from Jones.

The increased tension between Snyder and the league and other owners comes as Snyder receives offers for his team. Potential buyers include Josh Harris, owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils; Tilman Fertitta, owner of the NBA’s Houston Rockets; and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, owner of The Washington Post.

Harris visited the commanders training center in Ashburn, two people familiar with the situation said this month. Fertitta has made a bid for the team estimated at just over $5.5 billion and has reportedly visited the academy, two people with knowledge of the matter said on Saturday. Bezos has hired a New York investment firm, Allen & Company, to assess a possible offer, two people familiar with the deliberations said last week.

Snyder is “ruling” Bezos out of the sale process so far, a person familiar with the situation said, confirming reports from the New York Post and Athletic. Snyder “rebuffed all efforts” by Bezos to move forward with buying the team, according to this person, who said Snyder was acting “out of spite” because of Bezos’ ownership of The Post. It is unclear whether Snyder’s approach represents a final decision or a posturing within a trading strategy.

Commanders said in November that Snyder and his wife Tanya, the team’s co-CEO, hired Bank of America Securities to “consider potential transactions” for the franchise. The team did not say whether the Snyders were looking to sell part or all of the franchise, which is valued by Forbes at around $5.6 billion. The Denver Broncos were sold last year for $4.65 billion, the record price for an NFL club.

Jeff Bezos hires investment firm to consider bid on Commanders

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was angered by Daniel Snyder’s compensation claim, according to one of those familiar with the matter. The league and owners are prepared to legally fight Snyder if necessary, the person said, but would prefer that Jones convince Snyder to accept a record price for his team and leave the league without a court confrontation. The owners think any vote they might take to remove Snyder would survive a legal challenge, according to this person.

“It just seems to be getting worse. … If you want to sue, fine,” that person said. “If you want to fight, we will fight. … (But) hopefully in the long run, just by talking to him, he’ll realize that’s not the way to go.

When asked what Snyder and his attorneys were seeking compensation for, the person replied, “Literally everything.”

A third person with knowledge of the owners’ opinions said Snyder’s request was objectionable but not surprising. Snyder “stands a better chance” of keeping the findings of White’s investigation out of public view than getting the owners to agree to compensate him, the person said, while adding that neither the other should not happen.

In March 2021, NFL owners approved a waiver that allowed Snyder to borrow $450 million above the league’s debt ceiling so he could resolve a dispute with his three co-owners by buying their collective participation of 40%. Given that accommodation — which at least one owner now regrets, according to someone familiar with the matter — the owners are unlikely to comply with Snyder’s current demand for the franchise’s terms of sale.

The owners recently resolved their internal dispute over another compensation issue. They voted unanimously in October to ratify a proposal on how to split the NFL’s $790 million settlement payment with St. Louis in 2021 to resolve the city’s lawsuit over the Rams’ move to Los Angeles in 2016. Rams owner Stan Kroenke apparently agreed to pay the settlement and legal fees, minus the roughly $7.5 million per team the league withheld from the other 31 franchises to contribute to the total.

A vote to remove an owner would be unprecedented. Jerry Richardson sold the Carolina Panthers to David Tepper in 2018 after an NFL investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct. This investigation, also conducted by White, concluded that there was no information to discredit the allegations made against Richardson. The NFL fined Richardson $2.75 million.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said in October that he and other owners should seriously consider voting to remove Snyder from ownership, which would require the approval of at least three-quarters of the owners. Several owners told the Post in September that they thought serious consideration would be given to trying to oust Snyder from the ranks of owners, either by convincing him to sell or by voting to remove him.

White’s investigation was launched in February 2022 after Tiffani Johnston, a former cheerleader and team marketing executive, told a congressional roundtable that Snyder harassed her during a team dinner, putting his hand on her thigh and urging her to his limo. Snyder has denied the charges, calling the allegations made directly against him “barefaced lies”.

The Post reported in 2020 that the team paid a former employee $1.6 million in a confidential settlement in 2009 after the woman accused Snyder of sexual misconduct. Snyder denied the woman’s allegations, and an investigative team accused her of fabricating her claims as part of an extortion attempt. But Snyder and the team eventually agreed to pay her a seven-figure sum as part of a settlement in which she agreed not to sue or publicly disclose her allegations.

Following an earlier investigation into the team’s workplace by attorney Beth Wilkinson, the NFL announced in July 2021 that the team had been fined $10 million and that Tanya Snyder would take responsibility. day-to-day operations of the franchise for an indefinite period.

The team and Daniel Snyder are also under investigation by federal authorities in the Eastern District of Virginia. The federal investigation includes multiple agencies and is focused on allegations of financial impropriety involving the team, according to people familiar with the situation.

The allegations of financial impropriety originally surfaced as part of the Democrats’ investigation of the team’s workplace by the House Oversight and Reform Committee. The commanders denied committing financial wrongdoing.

The committee’s Democratic leadership wrote in a 20-page letter in April that the commanders and Snyder “may have engaged in a troubling, long-lasting and potentially unlawful pattern of financial conduct” that allegedly involved withholding until $5 million in reimbursement. deposits from season ticket holders and also hiding money that was supposed to be split between NFL owners. The team denied committing financial improprieties at any time and called the committee’s actions politically motivated.

The office of Karl A. Racine (D), then DC’s attorney general, filed a consumer protection lawsuit in November against Commanders, Snyder, the NFL and Goodell, accusing them of colluding to deceive and mislead consumers. misleading customers about an investigation into the team’s workplace to maintain its revenue-seeking fan base. Both the team and the NFL have denied the allegations, and attorneys for the team said the lawsuit “repeats a lot of innuendo, half-truths, and lies.”

Racine’s office filed a second lawsuit that month against the commanders over refundable deposits that were allegedly not returned by the team to season ticket holders in Washington. Commanders said a review by an outside law firm ‘found no evidence that the team intentionally withheld security deposits that should have been returned to customers or that the team improperly converted deposits unclaimed in income”. Racine has since been replaced by Brian L. Schwalb (D) as attorney general.

Then-Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) announced in November that his office’s consumer protection division had reached a settlement with commanders over allegations that the team reportedly withheld security deposits from ticket holders. The team paid a $250,000 fine under a settlement in which it did not admit the allegations. The settlement required commanders to refund any security deposits that had not been returned to consumers.

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