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Washington Redskins React to Fans' Tough Luck With Tough Love
The Post reviewed lawsuits in which the Daniel M. Snyder-controlled entity WFI Stadium Inc. sued 125 Redskin ticket holders for a total of $3.6 million. The team won judgments totaling $2 million from 34 season ticket holders, most of whom did not hire an attorney and defaulted by not making an appearance in court.
The Post has documented 16 tickets for individual games that were taken from sued fans and resold by the Redskins. The tickets, forfeited by five fans, were bought by an online broker, ASC Ticket Co. of Gaithersburg, according to a printout from the Redskins ticket system. Some of those sued complained that the Redskins had "double-dipped" -- reselling the tickets while obtaining judgments against them for defaulting on the contracts.
Donovan rejected the idea that the Redskins collected twice on the seats, saying that collecting on the judgments has been difficult. "Getting a judgment is not getting paid," he said.
When Companies Default
About a dozen companies bailed out on their luxury skybox leases in the past year, and the cases stand out from the premium ticket holder lawsuits in both size and nature.
The companies include a lobbying firm that went out of business, a telecommunications firm and a Shenandoah coffee roaster owned by a man indicted on charges that he ran a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. The Redskins have won $8 million in judgments in eight cases.
Only one defendant is mounting a significant defense: Atlantic Transportation Equipment Ltd., a Maryland bus-maintenance company that rented a 30-seat skybox suite for $149,000 annually to entertain clients and employees. The six-year contract was due to expire next year, and the Redskins sued for the final two seasons, or $269,000 after deducting the deposit.
The case is set for trial next month. Attorney Alan Silverberg argued in pretrial discussions that the team found a tenant for the suite last year and this year and should reduce the damages sought by the amount collected from the new tenant.
"It is basic, fundamental law that [a landlord] can't remain idle when premises are abandoned," Silverberg said. "They can't sit back and say, 'You breached the lease, and you owe for the duration.' "
The team agreed to reduce the damages sought to $74,371.
However, in the cases against the five fans whose tickets were resold to ASC, the Redskins have not reduced the amount they are seeking in court to reflect the proceeds from resold tickets. Donovan said the contract stipulates that the team can collect for the full term if a ticket holder defaults. He also said the team cannot afford to leave seats empty while it pursues judgments that are difficult to collect.
Rodney Hubbard, 37, who defaulted on a 10-year contract after a year, said he thinks that it is unfair "to charge me for the rest of the nine years if I don't go."
For years, Hubbard bought tickets to individual games from his employer, a car dealership. But in 2007, he realized a lifelong dream of getting season tickets. He signed up to buy four club seats on the 30-yard line for $15,000 a year.