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Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder may have taken a step toward resolving the beef between himself and three of his ownership partners.
An NFL spokesman confirmed to USA TODAY Sports that members of the league's finance committee have approved Snyder’s request for a waiver that would enable him to take on an additional $450 million in debt to buy out minority owners Dwight Schar, Fred Smith and Robert Rothman, whose relationships with Snyder have soured in recent years.
The finance committee is responsible for reviewing potential ownership transactions, among other things. The committee’s approval means that the matter will next go before the league’s other franchise owners during next week’s annual meeting, which is scheduled to take place virtually.
Snyder needs 24 of the 31 other owners to vote in favor of the waiver to greenlight the transaction. He would then have the ability to purchase the other 40.5% of WFT ownership stakes (estimated at roughly $875 million, according to reports), ensuring he and members of his family own the franchise in its entirety.
Snyder, Schar, Smith and Rothman have engaged in a contentious dispute over distributed dividends, their battle making its way to federal court. The three minority owners had sought to sell their stakes and found a group of California-based investors willing to purchase them for $900 million, according to The Washington Post. But Snyder aimed to exercise the right of first refusal so he could block that transaction and match the offer himself.
However potential resolution of the dispute should not be misconstrued as an end to the other controversy that has engulfed Snyder in the last year. The league-directed review of him and allegations of a long-running history of rampant sexual misconduct and harassment leveled against Snyder by former female employees of the franchise, including cheerleaders, remains ongoing.
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The ownership dispute and misconduct investigation are separate issues, according to a league spokesman. There is no timeline for an independent investigator's review of the complaints against Snyder, who has alleged some of the allegations are a part of a smear campaign led, in part, by the minority owners.
People familiar with the situation believe that it’s highly unlikely the other 31 owners would force Snyder to sell the team, partially because – at this point – none of the allegations involve direct misconduct by Snyder.
Snyder has issued statements condemning mistreatment of women in the employment of the team, claiming he hadn’t paid close enough attention to the organization's culture. He initially hired attorney Beth Wilkinson to conduct an investigation into the franchise's practices and allegations against it, but Snyder then turned that investigation over to the NFL. Wilkinson will now report her findings directly to the league.
It’s expected that if Snyder does receive any kind of punishment, that it would involve a fine and/or suspension rather than bring forced to sell the team.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder may buy rest of franchise