The NFL doesn’t have the votes to force scandalized Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder to sell his club, according to a New York Post report.
Following recent league meetings in Palm Beach, Florida, a source close to one team owner said the league was shy of the 75-percent threshold that would have compelled a sale, the Post is reporting.
Ahead of the annual league meeting in Arizona on March 26, owners of the NFL’s other 31 teams are seeking an end to years of controversies related to the club, the Post reports. Previously, in October, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said there is ‘merit to remove’ Snyder. Such a move would be unprecedented in the NFL, and would require the votes of 24 out of the 31 other owners.
‘This is the boy’s club of boy’s clubs,’ another source close to an NFL owner told the Post. ‘They want a higher bar so there is no precedent for them [to be forced to sell their own teams].’
The 58-year-old billionaire has faced fans’ calls to sell the struggling team for years, but pressure has been mounting since 2020 amid accusations of sexual harassment, financial impropriety, and obstruction against the team and Snyder himself. While the Commanders have fired many of the individuals accused of sexual harassment and paid a $10 million fine to the NFL, Snyder has defiantly denied accusations against him in the face of several investigations, including a congressional probe.
The NFL doesn’t have the votes to force scandalized Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder to sell his club, according to a New York Post report
Snyder enlisted Bank of America to explore a potential sale of the team last year, but it remains unclear if he intends to close a deal, and if so, if he’s willing to sell the entire club or a minority stake.
Interested parties are believed to include Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who has signed a confidentiality agreement, indicating that he will be allowed to enter a bid, according to the Post. Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post, was rumored to be barred from the bidding process over Snyder’s reported displeasure with the newspaper’s reporting about the billionaire’s various scandals.
Snyder is reportedly seeking $6 billion for the club. The Post previously reported that Fertitta has made the highest bid at $5.5billion, which would be a new record after the Denver Broncos were sold for an all-time high of $4.65 billion in August to Walmart heir Rob Walton.
An NFL spokesman did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment on Saturday.
Some owners remain hopeful that Bezos can be included among the bidders, according to recent reporting by The Associated Press.
However, others remain skeptical, given Snyder’s reported desire to be indemnified against any potential legal problems that could arise down the road.
Snyder wants a contract from the NFL or the prospective buyer of the Commanders to indemnify him, according to the Washington Post.
Jeff Bezos looks on from the sidelines before kickoff between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on September 15, 2022. Josh Harris of the 76ers is also rumored to be interested in the club
President of the UFC, Dana White and owner, Tilman Fertitta of the Houston Rockets attend the game between the Houston Rockets and the Miami Heat on February 10, 2022 at the Toyota Center in Houston
Snyder’s future as an NFL owner has grown murkier amid mounting scandals.
Following The Washington Post’s recent report that Snyder is seeking to be indemnified were he to sell the team, ESPN reported Tuesday that FBI and IRS agents are investigating claims that Snyder took out a $55 million loan without the knowledge of his then-minority partners.
After years of disputes, Snyder bought out minority owners Dwight Schar, a home construction executive, Black Diamond Capital CEO Bob Rothman, and FedEx founder Fred Smith in the spring of 2021. The trio had previously filed an injunction in hopes of being allowed to sell their 40.5-percent stake of the team, which Snyder ultimately purchased after the NFL approved a debt-limit waiver, allowing him to take out a $450 million loan from Bank of America.
Recently a federal grand jury issued subpoenas related to team finances, according to ESPN.
The former minority partners had reportedly demanded an NFL investigation into the alleged $55 million loan during a confidential arbitration hearing, but at least one source with knowledge of the proceedings told ESPN that Schar, Smith and Rothman believed league commissioner Roger Goodell and general counsel Jeffrey Pash sided with Snyder.
If Snyder did take out the $55 million loan without informing his now-former minority partners, it would have violated the team’s shareholder agreement, according to documents obtained by the AP.
Then-Redskins minority owners Robert Rothman (left), Dwight Schar (middle) and team majority owner Dan Snyder are all smiles in the closing minutes of a win over the Vikings in Minnesota. The picture is believed to be from 2013
Fred Smit (pictured), the CEO of Fred Ex was a team minority owner until the spring of 2021
Bank of America officials repeatedly requested proof that the board had approved the loan, only to close on the deal without receiving any such confirmation. Documents obtained by the AP show one team lawyer acknowledging in a letter that the board approval was never granted.
A Bank of America spokesman declined to comment to DailyMail.com.
Less than a week after Schar, Rothman and Smith pushed NFL arbitrators to investigate the loan, the NFL moved to end the arbitration proceedings, documents show.
Frustrated, Schar, Rothman and Smith hesitantly agreed allow Goodell to mediate the dispute, according to ESPN.
The NFL did not conduct any investigation into the loan, and Snyder has never been penalized over the financial misconduct claims.
In a statement, McCarthy said: ‘The parties had a series of disputes, which were certified to the Commissioner for arbitration as required by league rules. The Commissioner appointed a highly-respected attorney as the arbitrator and none of the parties objected to that appointment.’
‘After several months, the parties were asked if they would be interested in participating in a confidential mediation with the Commissioner, which they agreed to do,’ McCarthy continued.
‘The mediation lasted for two days and the parties subsequently reached an agreement whereby the three limited partners sold all of their interests in the team to Mr. Snyder at an agreed-upon price and other terms. Everyone was represented by very sophisticated legal and financial advisors. The agreement included full releases of all claims that were or could have been asserted by any party in the arbitration proceeding.’
The former minority partners had reportedly demanded an NFL investigation into the alleged $55 million loan during a confidential arbitration hearing, but at least one source with knowledge of the proceedings told ESPN that Schar, Smith and Rothman believed league commissioner Roger Goodell (pictured) and general counsel Jeffrey Pash sided with Snyder
Commanders attorney John Brownlee did not respond to ESPN questions about the alleged $55 million loan, but did say the team is cooperating with the DOJ’s request for financial records.
The DOJ’s Eastern District of Virginia made that request last year after a House Oversight Committee investigation uncovered claims that the Commanders engaged in deceptive business practices for more than a decade. The team is accused of improperly withholding ticket revenue from visiting teams and refundable deposits from fans.
Former vice president of sales and customer service Jason Friedman testified during a Committee hearing that the Commanders had had two sets of financial books: One given to the NFL with underreported ticket revenue and another that was more accurate.
‘The team has been fully cooperating with the Eastern District of Virginia since it received a request for records last year,’ Brownlee said in a statement to ESPN. ‘The requested records only relate to customer security deposits and the team’s ticket sales and revenue. The team will continue to cooperate with this investigation.’
A spokesperson for the Eastern District of Virginia declined to comment on ESPN’s reporting.