NFL CONTINUES TO HOLD OUT ON SKINS BID AS MILSTEIN AWAITS OK
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).