- The Washington Times - Friday, November 1, 2002

Failed Washington Redskins bidder Howard Milstein yesterday lost an arbitration ruling to current team owner Dan Snyder, marking his third major legal defeat stemming from his unsuccessful pursuit of the Redskins, legal sources said.

In May, Milstein filed a $20million arbitration request, claiming Snyder did not use his best efforts to complete a purchase of the Redskins when the two were partners in 1998 and early 1999. The $20million corresponds to Milstein's share of a $30million deposit made on the team in January 1999 after Milstein and Snyder won a heated bidding war for the Redskins.

Milstein's legal theory against Snyder was almost identical to the one he unsuccessfully used against the estate of Jack Kent Cooke. Milstein, also claiming the Cooke estate failed to use its best efforts to complete a planned $800million sale of the team and breached its contractual duties, sued the estate for an estimated $400million in compensatory and punitive damages. But since Milstein withdrew his bid for the team in the face of certain rejection from NFL owners, estate lawyers successfully used that withdrawal to score legal wins in both Virginia District Court and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Following Milstein's withdrawal in March 1999, Snyder assembled a new investor group that included his father, sister and business partner Fred Drasner and bought the team, also for a then-record $800million, later that spring.

Attorneys for both Milstein and Snyder declined to comment yesterday on the private arbitration ruling, citing a confidentiality provision. But legal sources indicated the ruling, represented a "total victory" for Snyder. Several minor counterclaims made by Snyder against Milstein, contingent on a Milstein win, were also thrown out in the ruling. As a result, no money will change hands between the two.

The loss extends a bitter irony for Milstein. Shortly after his withdrawal from pursuing the Redskins, the estate offered him the full $30million deposit back, even though it was designed to be nonrefundable, as well as an estimated $10million in expenses incurred while seeking the team, in exchange for Milstein making no legal claims concerning the Redskins. Snyder also personally offered Milstein a share of the expenses incurred under the same terms.

Milstein declined all offers and set off in search of the bigger financial prize. It is now uncertain what other legal plans he may have, if any.

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