Washington Football Team majority owner Dan Snyder claims minority owner Dwight Schar is guilty of extortion for allegedly leaking defamatory information about him to the media through one of Snyder’s employees in an attempt to force him to sell the team and therefore inflate the value of Schar’s shares before an eventual sale.
Last tabbed by Forbes with a net worth of $1 billion in 2010, Schar built his fortune through the real estate business. He was born and raised in rural Ohio before attending Ashland University and graduating in 1964.
After starting out as a junior high school teacher, Schar worked for home-building company Ryan Homes. He eventually left and started his own business, NVHomes, which absorbed Ryan Homes. The parent company NVR, Inc., which also does business in the mortgage-banking sector, has since grown into the fifth largest home builder in the U.S. Schar remains executive chairman and CEO.
In addition to his work in real estate, Schar is also heavily involved with politics, previously serving as the National Finance Chair of the Republican National Committee and reportedly donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to the GOP. He also was an outspoken advocate of former U.S. President George W. Bush during his administration.
Schar purchased a stake in the team formerly known as the Washington Redskins in 2003 alongside FedEx founder and CEO Fred Smith and private equity investor Robert Rothman. The three men own roughly 40 percent of the team between them.
Friction between the minority owners and Snyder began to mount in April, when Snyder withheld annual dividend checks from the three men without speaking to them beforehand. The minority owners then accused Snyder of mismanaging the team’s finances, prompting Schar to request a series of documents outlining the team’s financial performance over the last two years.
Smith, Rothman and Schar informed Snyder in June that they intended to sell their collective shares, reportedly setting a price point at $1.5 billion. Snyder responded by removing all three of them off the board of the team’s holding company and allegedly attempting to block the sale of their shares. The NFL then hired an arbiter later that month to investigate the minority owners’ accusations.
However, Snyder claims that former Washington Football executive assistant Mary Ellen Blair worked with Schar to conduct a smear campaign by leaking defamatory information to The Washington Post and other news outlets with the hope of pressuring him to sell his majority stake in the franchise. Schar and his fellow minority owners hold non-voting shares, which makes them less valuable when sold on their own as opposed to being packaged with Snyder’s stake.
All four of the Washington owners are set to appear virtually before federal Judge Peter J. Messitte on Jan. 7 to be questioned on the allegations.