- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 18, 2002

Failed Washington Redskins bidder Howard Milstein is seeking at least $20 million in legal damages from Dan Snyder, filing an arbitration request against the current team owner.
In the filing, Milstein contends Snyder breached his agreement to pursue the Redskins jointly in 1998 and early 1999, and that Snyder failed to use his best efforts to help Milstein get the Redskins, even after Milstein voluntarily withdrew his bid for the team in April 1999. Following that withdrawal, an investor group of Snyder, his father and sister, and business partner Fred Drasner succeeded in buying the team and the current FedEx Field for a then-record $800 million.
The minimum of $20 million Milstein seeks corresponds to the amount of his share of a deposit paid on the Redskins in January 1999 after winning a heated bidding war for the team. Milstein attorneys yesterday declined to specify any plans for seeking additional compensatory or punitive damages, but did not rule out the possibility.
"Howard Milstein and his partners at the time [Snyder, brother Edward Milstein] had a contract to buy the Redskins, subject to NFL approval," said Milstein attorney Alan Vickery. "The question we're trying to answer is what Dan Snyder was doing all that time [prior to Milstein's withdrawal]? Was he using his best efforts to complete the deal on behalf of the Washington Sports Ventures partnership, or was he subverting the deal behind the scenes?"
Legally, the arbitration filing covers similar ground as Milstein's two failed attempts to win a judgment showing the Jack Kent Cooke estate and former team president John Kent Cooke conspired against Milstein and breached its contractual duties. Milstein sought an estimated $400 million in damages, but lost in both Virginia District Court and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The new filing clearly has Milstein turning his sights to Snyder. A hearing on the matter is possible within the next several months. The hearing itself will be similar to one in standard litigation, though a bit less formal, and the decision by the third party arbitrator is binding. The hearing and all documentation, however, remain private.
Snyder declined to comment yesterday through a spokesman. The cruel irony in Milstein's continued legal pursuit is that soon after he withdrew his bid in the face of certain legal rejection, the Cooke estate offered him back the deposit which was written as nonrefundable plus $10 million in expenses incurred, in return for Milstein releasing all legal claims regarding the Redskins. Milstein, a New York-based real estate executive, firmly rejected the offer and set off in search of the much bigger financial prize. The district court defeat came in October 2000, the appeals defeat 11 months later.
"Milstein is just moving down the list. The NFL may even be next," a league source said last night.
Despite Milstein's well-documented litigious nature, the new filing comes as something of a surprise as Milstein never named Snyder as a defendant in the lawsuits against John Cooke and the Cooke estate. And though Milstein never had a role with the Redskins, Snyder has spoken favorably of Milstein on several occasions since taking control of the team.


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