The Washington Football Team could be in Jeff Bezos’s crosshairs after the billionaire’s attorney reportedly contacted a sports investment firm hired by the club’s minority partners to find a buyer.
However, majority owner Daniel Snyder has no interest in selling the team, a source familiar with the situation has told DailyMail.com.
Talk of a potential sale was revived this week when FrontOfficeSports.com obtained court documents from India stating that Bezos’s attorney was in contact with the Baltimore-based Moag & Co. – a firm hired by the team’s minority partners to find a buyer for their shares. Snyder is currently suing an Indian media company, MEA Worldwide, which he claims is involved in a smear campaign organized by his minority partner Dwight Schar to force him to sell the team.
Bezos, who recently announced his decision to step down as Amazon’s CEO later this year, has long been rumored to be interested in buying an NFL franchise. However, it’s unclear if he has any path to controlling the Washington Football Team outright, even if he does acquire the 40 percent currently controlled by FedEx CEO Fred Smith, Black Diamond Capital chairman Robert Rothman and Schar, a real estate developer and construction executive.
Snyder has steadfastly resisted calls to sell the club he bought in 1999 for $800 million. And without Snyder on board, Smith, Rothman, and Schar’s shares are effectively an overpriced sports collectible: there’s theoretical value, but you can’t take it out of the box.
By purchasing a minority stake, Bezos would just become a silent partner, which may not appeal to someone reportedly worth $192 billion.
The Washington Football Team could be in the crosshairs of Jeff Bezos (left) after the billionaire’s attorney reportedly contacted a sports investment firm that is known to be pushing embattled owner Daniel Snyder (right) to sell his stake. Bezos, who recently announced his decision to step down as Amazon’s CEO later this year, has long been rumored to be interested in buying an NFL franchise, according to multiple reports. Snyder has never publicly expressed an interest in unloading the club he bought in 1999 for $800 million
Bezos’s reported interest in the team is the latest chapter in the internal war between Snyder and his minority partners, which reportedly began when he refused to pay them dividends as the pandemic slashed profits across the league. Since then, the team dropped its nickname, the Redskins, amid pressure from Native American groups and faced hostile workplace accusations from female employees and team cheerleaders, who claim they were subjected to sexual harassment. Snyder privately settled one sexual harassment allegation, according to The New York Times and Washington Post, and the league is conducting an investigation of the team. Amid the turmoil, the team’s minority owners continued to push for a sale
A team spokeswoman has not responded to the DailyMail.com’s request for comment. Likewise, Moag & Co. executives and employees did not immediately respond to an email request for confirmation. A spokesman at NVR, Schar’s construction firm, said that he was unavailable and unlikely to comment on the report.
Schar, Smith, and Rothman own 40 percent of the club that Forbes values at $3.4 billion.
Bezos’s reported interest in the team is the latest chapter in the internal war between Snyder and his minority partners, which reportedly began when he refused to pay them dividends as the pandemic slashed profits across the league.
Since then, the team dropped its nickname, the Redskins, amid pressure from Native American groups and faced hostile workplace accusations from female employees and team cheerleaders, who claim they were subjected to sexual harassment. Snyder privately settled one sexual harassment allegation, according to The New York Times and Washington Post, and the league is currently conducting an investigation of the team.
Amid the turmoil, the team’s minority owners continued to push for a sale.
Smith thought he found a buyer at least once in the last year, according to the Wall Street Journal, but Snyder was slow to approve the deal and the buyer eventually bought a stake in another team.
Rothman and Schar then decided to sell their shares with the help of investment bank Moag & Co.
Since then, Snyder accused Schar of extortion in a federal filing, obtained by Front Office Sports in December.
‘This is far from the only instance in which I have been extorted by Mr. Schar and others associated with him about this meritless allegation,’ Snyder reportedly rote in the filing. ‘For the past 5 months, there have been repeated threats by Mr. Schar and others associated with him.’
FedEx Corp. CEO Fred Smith (pictured) thought he found a buyer at least once in the last year, according to the Wall Street Journal, but Snyder was slow to approve the deal and the buyer eventually bought a stake in another team
The team’s minority owners consist of FedEx Corp. CEO Fred Smith, Black Diamond Capital chairman Robert Rothman (right) and NVR Inc. board chairman Dwight Schar (left), who control a combined 40 percent stake worth roughly $1.4billion, according to Forbes’ $3.4billion valuation in 2019
Here, Redskins owners, from left to right: Robert Rothman, Dwight Schar and Dan Snyder are all smiles in the closing minutes of a win over the Vikings. Now Rothman and Schar are reportedly seeking to sell their shares over displeasure with Snyder, the majority owner
Snyder and his attorneys claim that Schar helped orchestrate a smear campaign with the India media company, MEA WorldWide.
In 2020, Snyder filed a lawsuit in India against MEA Worldwide, which he claims slandered him in several articles last month that allegedly tried to connect him with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Snyder and Epstein have no known links.
To aid in that lawsuit, Snyder filed a petition in Federal District Court in Alexandria, Virginia in August of 2020 to compel a former team employee, Mary-Ellen Blair, to produce discovery evidence for use in the proceeding in India. Snyder is attempting to establish ‘Blair’s motive for seeking to defame’ him, according to the filing obtained by DailyMail.com.
Snyder has claimed in court documents both in the US and India that Blair is part of Schar’s larger scheme.
Despite his claims of an orchestrated smear campaign, Snyder was apologetic following hostile workplace accusations against the team.
‘Let’s be really clear: This is a human issue,’ Snyder told The Wall Street Journal in November. ‘I’m sorry that anyone was hurt, but we can change.
‘We are apologetic,’ added Snyder, who has replaced the team’s controversial name, its President, and the head coach since early summer.
Former team Emily Applegate (pictured) accused the team of creating a hostile workplace back in July, saying one executive frequently commented on her physical appearance
One club executive instructed employees to create a lewd behind-the-scenes video of partially nude cheerleaders at a 2008 calendar shoot, according to the latest wave of accusations against the embattled NFL franchise
Redskins cheerleaders seen dancing as part of a 2004 event, where Scourby claims Snyder suggested she spend some time with a close friend of his in a nearby hotel room
In two separate Washington Post reports over the summer, no fewer than 15 women made sexual harassment or other hostile workplace claims against club employees, nearly all of whom departed before or immediately after the accusations were revealed.
The women say they endured unwelcome sexual advances, comments about their physical appearance, and verbal abuse from co-workers or male supervisors. One female employee said she was called ‘f***ing stupid’ and asked to wear a tight dress in a client meeting ‘so the men in the room have something to look at.
In July, Snyder hired Washington law firm Wilkinson Walsh LLP to review the team’s culture, policies and allegations of workplace misconduct. Attorney Beth Wilkinson is now reporting directly to the league office, and according to the Journal, her findings will be released soon
The Post report cited former employee Emily Applegate and 14 mostly anonymous women, many of whom claimed they were left unsupported by an understaffed human resources department.
Snyder, himself, was accused of telling a team cheerleader named Tiffany Bacon Scourby in 2004 that she should go to a hotel room with a personal friend of his so the two could ‘get to know each other.’
He was also accused of warning the team’s cheerleading director to ensure the dancers are ‘skinny with big tits’ or he would ‘f***ing kill him.’
Snyder has denied both of these claims.
In July, Snyder hired Washington law firm Wilkinson Walsh LLP to review the team’s culture, policies and allegations of workplace misconduct. Attorney Beth Wilkinson is now reporting directly to the league office, and according to the Journal, her findings will be released soon.
Snyder also hired a new boss before the season: former NFL running back Jason Wright, who became the NFL’s first African-American team president.
As Snyder and Wright said in separate interviews with the Journal, the team’s environment suffered because problems were never addressed. Both cited new, diverse personnel to explain how they’re addressing the problem, but according to Wright, the team still has a long way to go.
Snyder (left) hired a new boss before the season: former NFL running back Jason Wright (right), who became the NFL’s first African-American team president
WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM EMPLOYEES ACCUSED OF MISCONDUCT OR NEGLIGENCE:
Former Washington Redskins director of pro personnel Alex Santos
Director of pro personnel Alex Santos: Six former employees and two reporters who covered the team told the Washington Post that Santos made inappropriate remarks to them about their appearances. He also asked them if they were interested in him romantically. In 2019, he allegedly pinched Rhiannon Walker, a reporter for The Athletic, and told her she had ‘an ass like a wagon.’ This resulted in an internal investigation. Another reporter, the Ringer’s Nora Princiotti, also accused Santos of harassing her. Santos, who declined to speak with The Post, was fired in July.
Team radio play-by-play announcer Larry Michael: Seven former employees told The Post that ‘the voice of the Washington Redskins’ frequently talked openly about female co-workers looks, often making sexually disparaging remarks. He was once caught on a ‘hot mic’ in 2018 discussing the looks of one intern, six sources told The Post. He is also accused of ordering employees to edit together a video of lewd behind-the-scenes outtakes from a 2008 calendar shoot. Michael, who declined to speak with The Post, retired after 16 seasons in July.
Former radio announcer Larry Michael (left) and former assistant director of pro personnel Richard Mann II (right)
Assistant director of pro personnel Richard Mann II: In a text message obtained by The Post, Mann told a female colleague that he and other men in the office debated whether she had plastic surgery on her breasts. He also warned another female coworker to expect an ‘inappropriate hug’ from him, adding, ‘don’t worry that will be a stapler in my pocket, nothing else.’ Mann declined to speak with The Post after being fired in July.
Former president of business operations Dennis Greene
President of business operations Dennis Greene: Five former employees told The Post that Greene asked female sales staffers to wear revealing outfits and flirt with wealthy season ticket holders and suite holders. Greene worked for the club for 17 years until 2018, when it was revealed that he had sold access to team cheerleaders at a bikini photo shoot in Costa Rica as part of a ticket package. According to a New York Times investigation, the 2013 calendar shoot did not involve any sex, but team officials did worry the cheerleaders by taking their passports. Some cheerleaders say they were required to be topless, although the shoot did not include any nudity. After a 14-hour shoot one day, nine of the 36 cheerleaders were reportedly asked to escort suite holders to a local nightclub. Several of the women began to cry, according to the Times. Greene declined to comment and has not worked for the team since he resigned in 2018.
Chief operating officer Mitch Gershman: Former team employee Emily Applegate said he would routinely compliment her body while also regularly berating her for insignificant problems, like printer malfunctions. Her allegations were supported by two other female former employees. When contacted, Gershman told The Post, ‘I barely even remember who she is,’ adding that he ‘would apologize to anyone who thought I was verbally abusive.’ Gershman left the team in 2015.
Team president Bruce Allen: Although he is not accused of any misconduct, Applegate claims Allen must have known about the abuse she was receiving because ‘he sat 30 feet away from me… and saw me sobbing at my desk several times a week.’ The brother of former Virginia Governor and US Senator George Allen, Bruce Allen was fired after the 2019 season.
Majority owner Dan Snyder: A former cheerleader named Tiffany Bacon Scourby told the Washington Post Snyder suggested that she join his ‘close friend’ in a hotel room in 2004 so they ‘could get to know each other.’ The 55-year-old billionaire is also accused of belittling executives, according to three members of the executive staff. Specifically, he mocked Dennis Greene for being a college cheerleader, once allegedly ordering him to do cartwheels for his amusement. He’s reportedly quarreling with the team’s minority partners, who wish to unload their shares, but could likely get more if he were willing to sell too. Snyder has privately settled one sexual harassment allegation, according to The New York Times and Washington Post, and the league is currently conducting an investigation of the team. Snyder remains the team’s majority owner.
Neither team owner Dan Snyder (left) or recently fired team president Bruce Allen (right) are accused of any misconduct, but sources did tell The Post that they should have been aware about the workplace culture, and neither did enough to stop it