Report: Daniel Snyder Buying out WFT Minority Owners; Requested $450M Waiver

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2021

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is shown before an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder is buying out the 40.5 percent stake in the franchise collectively held by the minority owners, according to Go Long's Tyler Dunne.

To facilitate the move, Snyder reportedly requested a $450 million debt waiver from the NFL's finance committee, which was approved. Sports Business Journal's Ben Fischer reported he will pay $875 million, with league owners to formally vote on the matter next week.

The Washington Post's Will Hobson, Mark Maske and Liz Clarke reported in November that WFT minority shareholders Fred Smith, Dwight Schar and Robert Rothman had accepted a $900 million offer from outside investors for their 40 percent stake.

"But Snyder is blocking the sale, according to people familiar with the situation, by attempting to selectively exercise his right of first refusal to buy back minority shares of the team before they're sold to other parties," the report said.

Ken Belson and Katherine Rosman of the New York Times also reported on Nov. 13 that Smith, Schar and Rothman had filed suit against Snyder, alleging he was failing to adhere to the ownership agreement by preventing the sale.

According to the New York Times, the minority owners were upset when Snyder unilaterally deferred the franchise's annual dividend payments last spring.

Snyder responded by saying the shareholders were launching a smear campaign to undermine his ownership and force him to sell the team.

Hobson and Clarke published their first investigation into the Washington Football Team in July. They spoke to 15 women who said they were victims of sexual harassment and verbal abuse behind the scenes at the team's office.

Larry Michael, the team's former senior vice president of content, and Alex Santos, the former director of pro personnel, were among the WFT employees named. Michael allegedly used "sexual and disparaging overtones" while speaking about female co-workers, while Rhiannon Walker of The Athletic said Santos had made inappropriate comments toward her and "repeatedly asked her to date him."

The Washington Post published a second investigation last August that included serious allegations against Snyder.

Michael allegedly instructed members of the team's video department to collect lewd outtakes from a WFT cheerleader swimsuit calendar shoot in 2008 in which the women's breasts were exposed. Michael said the video was intended for Snyder.

In addition, former WFT cheerleader Tiffany Bacon Scourby alleged Snyder approached her at a 2004 charity event and suggested she go up to a hotel room with one of his friends, who was also the team's "official ophthalmologist."

Former cheerleader director Donald Wells told the Post he had spoken with Scourby about the incident and that "she was more or less propositioned."

Snyder hired Beth Wilkinson to conduct an investigation into the allegations, with the NFL subsequently taking the reins while allowing Wilkinson to remain. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters in February that Wilkinson was "nearing the completion of her phase of work."