Within hours, Snyder’s lawyers countered with a filing calling Moag’s allegations “rife with scandalous and willfully defamatory statements.”
Snyder’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, declined to comment. But Tuesday afternoon, Snyder’s legal team followed with another court filing that asked U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander to take punitive action against Moag by holding him in contempt, requiring him to pay Snyder’s legal fees in the matter and striking his affidavit from the docket.
Moag could not be reached for comment Tuesday. His lawyer, Joe R. Reeder, declined to comment.
The volatile exchange, first reported by the Athletic, played out in filings in U.S. District Court in Baltimore late Monday and Tuesday.
The filing suggests the co-owners’ alleged findings, for which no evidence is offered, explain at least part of the acrimony behind the breakup of the 17-year partnership and the personal animus between Snyder and the three men who since 2019 have been trying to sell their collective 40 percent stake in the franchise: FedEx chief executive Frederick Smith, real estate magnate Dwight Schar and investor Robert Rothman.
Moag’s filing makes clear that the discovery of what he characterizes as financial malfeasance is the “serious s***” he alluded to in a text message to Snyder threatening further disclosures if Snyder did not agree to an orderly sales process. An image of that text was included by Snyder’s lawyers in court filings made public this month.
The text reads in part: “If you continue your game, you know what I know and what I have never spoken about. And you know it has nothing to do about the media s*** … it’s the more serious s***.
“If you want to get to a clean conclusion, let me know. If you want a s*** show, we are on for that too.”
In his affidavit, Moag states: “In the course of this representation, my clients learned of some serious corporate irregularities in the [Washington Football Incorporated] 2019 financial statements which I alluded to in a call I had with Snyder in late September 2020, including long missing financials, breaches of the partnership agreement, and other significant issues, some now being litigated in Judge [Peter J.] Messitte’s court, and others in ongoing arbitration. To say that discovering these improprieties disturbed my clients is an understatement.”
In the affidavit, Moag states further that he warned Snyder in conversations that he had known “for many months” about “serious corporate malfeasance issues” that neither he nor his clients had revealed to anyone.
Moag’s filing sheds new light on when and why the team’s ownership group splintered.
In the 12-page filing, Moag states he was hired by Smith in 2016 to sell his 10 percent stake in the team. Moag states he found a willing buyer, and the transaction appeared on track after Snyder and the prospective buyer met in Aspen, Colo. But the process stalled, Moag states in the filing, because Snyder didn’t follow through, and the buyer instead purchased a stake in another NFL team.
In 2019, Smith’s fellow minority partners, Rothman and Schar, joined his effort to sell, pooling their stakes to give Moag slightly more than 40 percent of the franchise to market. While 40 percent of Forbes magazine’s $3.5 billion valuation of the franchise would be $1.4 billion, minority shares that carry no voting rights typically are discounted.
Moag states in the filing that he wasn’t aware of any animosity among the four at the time. That changed, however, after the investors discovered “corporate improprieties,” according to the filing.
In the filing, Moag also accuses Snyder of sending two “intruders” to his home Aug. 1 in an attempt to intimidate him. As Moag recounts the visit in the filing, the men wore no masks, would not identify themselves, claimed to represent a prospective buyer and, in a “menacing” manner, asked what he had been saying about the team and its owner.
Snyder’s lawyer rejected the claim, writing, “This patently absurd allegation is false and defamatory.”
U.S. District Court in Baltimore, the venue for the legal parrying between Snyder and Moag, is one of multiple venues — including federal courts in Virginia, California, Colorado and Texas — in which Snyder is fighting to solidify his hold on the franchise, which he has owned since 1999.
In addition, Snyder is defending himself in a lawsuit, filed by his three co-owners, accusing him of blocking their effort to sell their collective shares. Snyder holds the right of first refusal, which gives him “first dibs” on any sale. According to a person familiar with the lawsuit, much of which has been contested under seal, Snyder wants to buy the stakes of Rothman and Smith (roughly 25 percent), but not that of Schar. A subsequent court filing suggested Snyder now is willing to buy out all three but has made no concrete offer to do so.
Snyder also is waging two campaigns in closed-door NFL proceedings. He is defending himself against an NFL grievance filed by his co-owners in June after he removed them from the team’s governing board and denied them further access to financial information, according to a person familiar with the dispute.
He also is awaiting completion of an NFL investigation, overseen by D.C. attorney Beth Wilkinson, that was opened in response to multiple reports in The Washington Post on allegations of pervasive sexual harassment and mistreatment of female team employees. Wilkinson’s probe, which has been temporarily halted by the judge presiding over the co-owners’ lawsuit, includes information about a 2009 confidential settlement.
That settlement appears to line up with a $1.6 million settlement the team paid to a female employee who accused Snyder of sexual misconduct, a copy of which was reviewed by The Post. The settlement reviewed by The Post included no admission of wrongdoing, and in a Dec. 22 filing Snyder called the woman’s claims “meritless” and said an insurance company opted to pay the settlement. Snyder also asserted he is the subject of “an extortion campaign” spearheaded by Schar.
To bolster that claim, Snyder has used the courts to seek phone records, emails, text messages and other documents from a former executive assistant, the wife of former Washington general manager Scot McCloughan, sports agent Peter Schaffer and Moag.
Moag stated in his filing Monday that he had never heard of the Indian media company until its July 16 publication on its website of baseless claims about Snyder, which Moag said he believed to be false.