Almost every employer inevitably creates disgruntled employees. Washington owner Daniel Snyder apparently has created an employee so disgruntled that, according to Snyder, she took cash to make up false stories about him. The filing also implies that the money may have come from someone with a desire to force Snyder out.
Via John Keim of ESPN.com, a Monday filing in federal court contains the assertion that former Washington executive assistant Mary Ellen Blair received money to help spread damaging information about Snyder, and that she “directly offered or alluded to the availability of bribes to current employees” of the team in order to elicit false information.
Snyder claims that Blair acted at the direction of, and with financial support from, the same persons who “hired and directed” meaww.com to publish defamatory articles about Snyder.
A New York Times article regarding the court filing claims that Blair began contacting current and former team employees in late May or early June in pursuit of information that would discredit Snyder. In July, Blair allegedly told a current employee that the person “probably could make a lot of money” by providing damaging information about Snyder.
Said attorney Joe Tacopina in a statement, via Keim: “Mr. Snyder will not stand by idly as these criminals, for their own malicious reasons, seek to sully his good name through outrageous lies. To that end, we are aggressively pursuing Mary Ellen Blair, a disgruntled former employee who is clearly in the pocket of another and complicit in this scheme to defame Mr. Snyder, in order to ensure that the full weight of the law comes down heavily on all those responsible for these heinous acts.”
Blair’s attorney, Lisa Banks, responded to the filing with a statement of her own: “This filing is an obvious and inappropriate attempt to silence Ms. Blair and others who may wish to communicate with legitimate news organizations about the culture of sexism, harassment and abuse that has existed at the highest levels of the Washington Football team for decades. Bullying and baselessly disparaging former employees who provide truthful information about their experience with Dan Snyder and his organization will do nothing to repair the reputation he claims in this filing to care so deeply about.”
Among other things, the filing claims that Blair told a long-time personal employee of Snyder’s that several minority shareholders didn’t want to do business with Snyder. Coupled with last month’s reports that the trio of minority shareholders — Fred Smith, Dwight Schar, and Robert Rothman — have been trying to sell their interests in the team, it’s impossible not to connect the dots and wonder whether Snyder wants to try to prove that one or more of his limited partners was the person recruiting people like Blair and websites like meaww.com to target Snyder.
Need more bread crumbs? The filing claims Blair has a “financial benefactor” who has helped her with rent in a luxury apartment building owned by Comstock. As noted by Keim, Schar’s daughter, Tracy, is on the Comstock board of directors and she serves as senior V.P. of marketing at Comstock Holding Companies. Also, two other members of Comstock’s board worked for Red Zone Capital, co-owned by Snyder and Schar.
So, yes, it looks like Snyder is trolling for a pretty big fish. And, given Snyder’s resources, he already has the bigger boat. Literally.