- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, Howard Milstein's dorsal fin pops up out of the surf. What a piece of work this guy is. After losing a lawsuit against the Jack Kent Cooke estate and John Cooke, who Milstein claimed had undermined his attempt to buy the Redskins, most people would have gone off to lick their wounds and perhaps price out an Arena League team. But not Howard. He just finds somebody else to sue.
The object of his litigation now is Dan Snyder, his onetime partner in the Redskins venture. Milstein thinks Snyder pulled an end run on him and maneuvered to get the club himself rather than support their joint bid when it became clear Howard wasn't going to be approved by NFL owners. As a result, he's asking for at least $20 million in damages, $20 million being the deposit he put down on the Redskins in January 1999 after winning the auction for the team.
If this doesn't work, who knows what Milstein will do? Maybe he'll sue Rick Snider, The Washington Times' intrepid Redskins writer. Or Snyder's Pretzels. Or Romy Schneider. Someone has to be held responsible.
Dan Snyder has been no bowl of cherries, but can you imagine what the last three seasons would have been like if Milstein had been in charge of the Redskins? There are few more dangerous combinations than a persecution complex aided and abetted by massive wealth.
Sept. 12, 1999 After his first regular-season game, a 41-35 overtime loss to the Cowboys, Howard sues the makers of Gatorade. "Dallas never would have come back in the fourth quarter if our defensive backs hadn't gotten leg cramps," he fumes. "It just shouldn't have happened."
Jan. 2, 2000 In a meaningless season finale, the Dolphins rest Dan Marino in the second half preferring to save him for the playoffs. Milstein sues Miami owner Wayne Huizenga, charging that Marino's removal caused many FedEx fans to leave early and cost the Redskins a bundle in concession and souvenir sales.
Jan. 15, 2000 Following a botched snap at the end of the playoff loss to Tampa Bay which prevented Brett Conway from trying a potential game-winning field goal Milstein sues center Dan Turk for conflict of interest. Turk, he says, "played for the Bucs in '87 and '88, and his heart has always been in Tampa."
Dec. 16, 2000 The Redskins' postseason hopes are extinguished by the Steelers, 24-3, in a Saturday game. Milstein sues the league for making the Redskins play such an important contest on just six days' rest instead of the usual seven.
Dec. 24, 2000 The sight of Champ Bailey catching two passes for 54 yards in the season closer against Arizona so angers Milstein that he sues the entire coaching staff for not working Bailey into the offense sooner.
Sept. 16, 2001 The NFL postpones the second week of games following the September 11 terrorist attacks. Upset that, as a result, four of the Redskins' first five games will be on the road, Milstein sues Afghanistan.
Nov. 18, 2001 Trailing the Broncos 10-0 in the pouring rain at Invesco Field, Milstein sues the city of Denver for building a new stadium without a retractable roof. When the Redskins rally for a 17-10 victory, he quietly drops the suit.
I could go on, but you get the picture. Milstein files so many lawsuits, he needs a walk-in closet for them. If it wasn't clear three years ago why the NFL didn't want to do business with him, it should be abundantly plain now. Taking Howard into the lodge would have been like taking a process server.
When he owned the New York Islanders, he sued Nassau County for unsatisfactory conditions at the Coliseum. When his bid to build office towers in Times Square was rejected, he sued New York City. Milsteins even sue other Milsteins or at least, they did in the late '90s when there were disagreements over the family's holdings. Would you sell a used football team to this man?
It was funny what the new owner of the Islanders said as he took over the team last year. "We're not in this for a land grab," he promised. "When we first looked at [buying the club], we knew it wouldn't make economical sense. But [my partner] and I are very community-minded people, and we both know that having a strong professional sports team strengthens a community."
Translation: I'm not Howard Milstein. Honest.
You can't choose your family, but you can choose your friends and business associates. So it's certainly within the rights of Redskins fans from here to Harrisburg to wonder:
What was Dan Snyder doing within a million miles of this guy?



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