Tuesday October 3, 2023

Push to Remove Dan Snyder Picks Up Steam

  • A source told ESPN that the co-owners alleged Snyder “possibly committed bank fraud” in NFL arbitration.
  • That loan has become the focus of the federal probe led by the FBI and IRS.
Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Commanders.
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Dan Snyder’s grasp on the Washington Commanders may not depend on his decision to sell the franchise. 

Front Office Sports confirmed that the push to remove Snyder — an effort that was put on hold when Snyder announced he was exploring a sale of the team in November — has been renewed, according to the latest reports from The Washington Post and ESPN.

The federal investigation that FOS reported last week — which led to at least one subpoena — was thoroughly detailed by ESPN on Tuesday: 

  • Snyder allegedly took out a $55 million line of credit without the knowledge or approval of the team’s three co-owners in 2019.
  • A source told the network that the co-owners alleged Snyder “possibly committed bank fraud” in NFL arbitration.
  • That loan has become the focus of the federal probe led by the FBI and IRS.

A deal was worked out in 2021 in arbitration, and the NFL approved a debt waiver that cleared the way for him to purchase the 40% combined stake held by Frederick Smith, Robert Rothman, and Dwight Schar for $875 million. 

On Monday night, The Washington Post reported that Snyder had requested that a potential new owner of the team take on the financial liability for the multiple investigations and lawsuits the team currently faces. 

The Commanders pushed back on the reporting of both stories. 

“The requested records only relate to customer security deposits and the team’s ticket sales and revenue,” John Brownlee, counsel for the Commanders, said in a statement. “The team will continue to cooperate with this investigation.”

The Washington Post story on Snyder seeking indemnification before he sold the team along with an attempt to suppress the the release of the NFL’s ongoing outside investigation into Snyder and Commanders was called “simply untrue” in a statement from the team.

“Snyder continues to insist on special treatment and protection from the NFL and its owners,” said attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent more than 40 former Commanders employees. “We look forward to seeing the results of these investigations, which we fully expect will confirm the unlawful actions of Dan Snyder and the team, and will result in long-awaited vindication for the brave women and men who made such accountability possible. “No matter how wealthy or powerful, no owner, team or sports league is above the law.”

The headlines come as Snyder and Bank of America — the bank handling the sale — have narrowed its list of billionaires interested in the team down. A source told FOS that the two finalists: Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils owner Josh Harris, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Snyder remains reluctant to sell to Bezos, although two sources said league execs and team owners have attempted to facilitate a deal between the two in recent weeks.

The other option is Snyder will decide to keep the team since the bids haven’t reached the $7 billion figure he’s sought. While owners had waited until the sale process to conclude to push for a removal that requires 24 votes, sources expect the effort to really gain momentum if Snyder opts not to sell.

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