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NFL CONTINUES TO HOLD OUT ON SKINS BID AS MILSTEIN AWAITS OK
Published March 12, 1999
On the eve of the NFL finance committee's meeting in Phoenix to decide whether to recommend Howard Milstein's $800M bid for the Redskins, Heath, Shapiro & Clarke write in a WASHINGTON POST front-page report that Milstein "has yet to be embraced by the league's inner circle." By asking Milstein to restructure his bid twice already and "raising the threshold" that he must meet to buy the team, league officials "are increasingly giving the impression that they simply don't want him in their club." The league's actions have caused observers to wonder "whether NFL officials are dealing in good faith" with the Milstein group, "or deliberately complicating the transaction in hopes of driving them away." NFL VP/Communications Greg Aiello said yesterday that "no new demands or requirements have been presented to the Milstein group this week." Aiello: "That notion is false. We are working with the Milstein group." Milstein's bid "still faces question" because "some owners worry Milstein is too litigious," while others "fear he might become too much of a maverick and would challenge the NFL's long-held business practice of sharing most of its revenue." Steelers President Dan Rooney said he still has concerns about financing and the "kind of partner [Milstein] would be." Rooney: "I'd like some assurances that he believes in the operation of the league, the way we do business." Another owner called Milstein "confrontational," and said "you want to be able to respect your partner and trust him." Williams & Connolly attorney Mark Levinstein, who has represented owners in disputes with the league: "They [the NFL] anticipate litigation. They want to bounce this proposed owner, and they want to create a record on which they can base the refusal" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/12). DELAY OF GAME? In DC, Snider & Fisher report that the owners' vote on the sale of the Redskins "might be delayed" if Milstein can't reorganize his bid in time for Saturday's finance committee meeting. Also, attorneys for the estate of Jack Kent Cooke have told Redskins President John Kent Cooke not to attend the meetings (WASHINGTON TIMES, 3/12).