Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Why Does this Keep Happening?

Is he stupid? Or just mean.

Every so often in Washington we hear about how the Redskins and owner Dan Snyder are lashing out at the media, or creating their own internet to give unfiltered or grinding axes by firing people or lamenting media coverage of the team by people that just don't know shit. Hell, even I have gotten email from the team challenging my coverage.

There is another spasm, and it is a good one and happening right now.

Background: Back in November 2010, just two and a half months ago, The Washington City Paper's excellent Dave McKenna, something of a bete noire to Dan Snyder, see here, here, here, here, here and here if you still are not sure, published an enterprise piece called The Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder, complete with an embellished photo of the owner with a unibrow, drooping mustache, pointed goatse and best of all, devil horns.

It is long and mad and beautiful, go and read it (op. cit.) right now before you go any further.

Present Day: Dan Snyder's legal apparatus, featuring the onmipresent David Donovan and newcomer Hollywood attorney Patty Glaser, have threatened legal action against the City Paper and or its ownership hierarchy, it did not go unnoticed by me or Huffington Post's / DCist's Jason Linkins that the lawyer letters did not go to the writer, nor to the editor, nor to the publisher of the City Paper, nor to the holding company that owns the paper, but in fact went to the hedge fund that owns the company that owns the paper.

Not only is Dan Snyder threatening legal action, he wants the City Paper to fire the piece's author, Dave McKenna (op. cit.), though I cannot find that reference in the legal letters being exchanged amongst the parties (links below).

Today Amy Austin, Publisher of The Washington City Paper, posted an open letter to readers summarizing the story, the paper is standing by the reporting and does not properly acknowledge Dan Snyder's arguments because, frankly, the paper has not formally heard of them, what with the legalese being directed at organizations above the paper that have no direct involvement in the production or vetting of the paper's content. As of this moment, Dan Snyder nor his representatives have accepted the paper's invitation to write a response or meet with editors.

What It All Means: Let me give you the tl;dr up front here for a change: DO NOT PICK A FIGHT WITH THE GUY THAT OWNS THE INK BARREL.

I really do not understand what the possible benefit could be from this action by the team. Why spend so much time and energy to squash one ant, or one anthill? Surely Dan Snyder understands it is not Dave McKenna per se, it is the suckitude. As long as the Redskins keep looking incompetent year after year all those Dan Snyder missteps and fuckups cannot get into the rearview and we can never really joke about those bad old days, a notion Dave himself motivates more eloquently in the introduction to his November piece (op. cit.)

And reading through the first of the three legal exchanges posted in their entirety on Amy's post today (op. cit.) reveals a very interesting tidbit: Dan Snyder is essentially accusing Atalaya Capital Management, the hedge fund that owns the holding company that owns the City Paper, of manipulating coverage of the Redskins to harm Dan Snyder's Red Zone Capital Equity investment operation, which competes against Atalaya in restaurant and media operations.

Returning to the content of Dave McKenna's piece, it is pretty damning, most of it recognizable by me, some I had never heard of, like Dan Snyder leaving cartons of vanilla ice cream to melt in former defensive coordinator Mike Nolan's office to protest his schemes, and all of it backed by links.

Kevin Ewoldt at Hogs Haven, a Redskins insider since he landed top level interviews during the ticket fiasco of 2009, posts up the crux of the biscuit, that while Dan Snyder may pretend to be mad about contrived attacks on his cancer survivor wife and blatantly laughable charges of Antisemitism in the devil image of the owner, the main issue appears to be a reference to a legal settlement by Snyder Communications for large scale forgery of customer signatures, thousands of them, effectively switching the victim's telephone provider without his or her knowledge, the settlement was in the millions.

Kevin actually spoke to Redskins attack dog David Donovan, who pointed out that Dan Snyder had sold Snyder Communications more than a year before the settlement, leading Kevin to wonder if a rewording or fact check on that one line of the piece and all this might have been avoided.

There is some question and some wiggle room here, the Hogs Haven provided link to the legal settlement dates it in April 2001, and does not mention Dan Snyder by name, so every reference in this legal news brief to quote Snyder unquote is referring to Snyder Communications, not Dan Snyder, and this would include payments, they do not appear from the wording of the piece to be coming from Dan Snyder personally.

The other Hogs Haven provided link is to the sale of Snyder Communications to a French firm, dated February 2000, yep, fourteen months before the settlement. Of note in this piece is a reference to Dan Snyder's planned departure... after the transition to new ownership. That date is unknown by me.

Therefore it does leave some question as to Dan's involvement with the operation while the thousands of slamming offenses were taking place, it is established in law that leaving a concern does not absolve you of malfeasance undertaken prior to your departure, and the fourteen months between the sale of Snyder Communications and the legal settlement minus the transition time before Dan actually left, well he may have been there and still had an executive position when the bad stuff was happening. That would make him a party to the case.

If so, that would make David Donovan's statements to Kevin Ewoldt on the matter misleading at best and inaccurate at worst. The only way to know is to know exactly when the transgressions in the lawsuit occurred and when Dan Snyder left the company, something we likely will only find out if it goes to court.

Which it will not.

And The Washington City Paper will not fire Dave McKenna.

As expensive as the Dan Snyder legal machine want to position litigation to be, the courts do not look favorably upon free speech cases replete with factual evidence to the public figure subject's incompetence, simply because the subject got all butthurt when he read it.

Dan, stop attacking the media, stop trying to build your own media fortress, just run the frigging team and give us a winner on the field. All the attacking will stop if the team wins, just look at the trainwreck that was Jack Kent Cooke's family and no one gave a shit. Just give us a winner and it all goes away.

Dan Snyder: Getty Images from here.




Even winning won't help Snyder. He crossed the point of no return. Many long-time supporters of the Redskins now watch to see this team lose and further humiliate Snyder. The Ravens are becoming a more attractive option by the minute.



"Just give us a winner and it all goes away."

I used to agree with that, now I'm not so sure...



Any chance the court would take the Redskins away from Danny Boy for filing this bunk lawsuit?



Snyder makes other tyrants look sort of decent by comparison . . .