The on-again, off-again sale of the Washington Federals to Florida interests is apparently on again -- with a new twist. Sherwood (Woody) Weiser, who agreed to buy the Federals in May and then backed out, will be a partner in the latest deal.
Donald Dizney, who operates a chain of hospitals based in Orlando, Fla., has offered a revised deal to Berl Bernhard, the Federals' chairman of the board. Two attorneys from Bernhard's law firm have been in Orlando the past few days trying to complete the paperwork.
The latest offer is said to involve the payment of less cash at the closing of the sale and more in deferred money. In Dizney's first offer, he agreed to pay about $1 million cash, another $2 million from future network television money (if the league survives) and allow Bernhard's group to keep 20 percent of the team.
Dizney also has agreed to pay $1 million over several years to John Bassett, owner of the Tampa Bay Bandits, for his territorial rights. Bassett has dropped a number of other demands that forced Dizney last month to call off his conditional deal for the Federals.
A conference call among U.S. Football League owners to approve the sale and move to Orlando had been scheduled yesterday but was postponed. Jim Byrne, a league spokesman, said the call is likely to be rescheduled later this week. "There's some reason for hope there will be a resolution shortly," he said.
The league-imposed deadline for Bernhard selling the team also has been extended, and the league apparently will not move to take over the franchise as long as negotiations with Dizney's group continue satisfactorily.
Orlando and USFL sources confirmed that Weiser is one of Dizney's two partners in the new deal. Weiser is the Miami hotel developer who agreed to buy the Federals in May, but pulled out in August when the USFL decided to move from a spring to a fall schedule in 1986.
That decision also left Howard Schnellenberger, who led Miami to the national college title last season, without a team to coach. Schnellenberger had become coach and chief operating officer of the Federals in May, with the proviso he would be paid if the team did not move to Florida.
Then Dizney got in the picture, also lining up Schnellenberger as his coach and general manager. Last month, Schnellenberger rejected the USFL after Dizney and Bassett could not agree on what Bassett should be paid for the territorial rights.
The Orlando Sentinel has reported that Charlie McLendon, former LSU coach and currently executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, is being considered for coach or general manager or both.