NFL, other owners not happy that WFT ownership dispute is in court

Getty Images

They want out, and their peers may now want them out.

The Washington Post reports that the NFL and others of other teams “are not pleased” that Washington Football Team minority owners Fred Smith, Dwight Schar, and Robert Rothman have taken their dispute with majority owner Daniel Snyder to court.

“That’s not how it’s done,” a person with knowledge of the league’s inner workings told the Post.

Those five words encapsulate the league’s persistent attitude that it handles its business internally, and that any effort to invite external scrutiny of league business affairs is frowned upon. It’s a “we know best what’s best for us” attitude that reflects distrust and suspicion of independent and objective authorities that may tell the cabal of billionaires things they don’t want to hear, or may make them do things they don’t want to do.

Snyder doesn’t want to allow his three minority owners to sell roughly 40 percent of the team in bulk. Thus, Snyder wants to exercise his right of first refusal as to the equity held by two of the three minority owners (Smith and Rothman) but not as to Schar. (It’s still unclear why Smith and Rothman don’t simply take their money and run, since it’s presumably the same amount.)

According to the Post, a group of California investors has offered $900 million for the minority interest. The proposal comes for billionaires Behdad Eghbali and Jose Feliciano, along with Feliciano’s wife, Kwanza Jones.

Eghbali was born in Iran, and Feliciano is a native of Puerto Rico.

The $900 million offer for 40 percent of the team reflects a total valuation of $2.25 billion. As noted by the Post, however, minority shares often reflect a lower value since they come with no ability to manage the organization.

The window for accepting the $900 million offer allegedly closes on November 25, but the litigation is not expected to reach a decision by then.

Snyder’s reasons for picking and choosing which minority interests he’ll buy could be rooted in spite, or he may simply not want to own he full 100 percent of the team. Given the problems that the minority owners have created for him this year, at some point he should welcome the opportunity to get rid of them.