It's Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder vs. Tampa's Creative Loafing
Wake up and good morning. Up in the nation's capital, home of the Washington Redskins and its not-so-popular owner Dan Snyder, a row has broken out involving a publication owned by Tampa-based Creative Loafing. It seems CL-owned City Paper up there wrote an unflattering cover story last November about Snyder and he's threatening legal action (though none has appeared yet) and seeking the dismissal of a City Paper writer.
Most of the brouhaha never would have made it out of the local Washington news world or the Redskins blogs until Snyder and his lawyers began complaining. Now the Washington Post (which notes it uses the City Paper writer, Dave McKenna, for freelance work) has weighed in with a story this week. It states about the City Paper story: "The article, entitled The Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder, detailed dozens of Snyder's actions as team owner and businessman. It recounted such episodes as the controversy surrounding the removal of trees on land adjacent to Snyder's home near the Potomac River and his raising of parking and ticket prices at FedEx Field, the Redskins' home. The article was accompanied by a clearly doctored photo of Snyder with horns and facial hair. It drew hundreds of comments on City Paper's Web site, almost all of them praising McKenna and condemning Snyder."
Why do we care? Because Creative Loafing is a local Florida business, which so far has had its City Paper publisher in Washington handle most of the controversy in the media. Creative Loafing is run by Marty Petty, a former St. Petersburg Times executive, who did not return a call to the Washington Post for its story. Creative Loafing is controlled by New York hedge fund Atalaya Capital Management that bought the Creative Loafing company for $5 million in a bankruptcy proceeding in August 2009.
We're also interested in Snyder because before he bought the Redskins he ran a communications company that got its hand slapped in Florida. Snyder Communications was hired by GTE (now Verizon) to recruit customers but was fined for "slamming" -- illegally changing people's long-distance provider to another without their permission. Here a St. Petersburg Times story about it.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist