Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder filed a motion of discovery against former team president Bruce Allen in a federal court, seeking to go through his text messages and documents that allegedly led to negative reporting against him.
Snyder filed the suit in California Central District Court on Thursday against a man who served under him for 10 years. Snyder fired Allen after the 2019 season.
Allen also was close to the three former minority owners in the franchise: Fred Smith, Robert Rothman and Dwight Schar. That group exchanged court filings and accusations with Snyder over the past year, but he bought out their shares last month, ending their squabble.
The latest filing regarding Allen is related to Snyder’s lawsuit against India-based MEAWW, which wrote several unsubstantiated allegations against Snyder last summer prior to an article by The Washington Post detailing sexual harassment charges against former team employees.
The filing noted that despite Allen’s “prominent position and hands-on role in running the Team during the time period discussed in many of these negative articles, Respondent’s name rarely, if ever, was mentioned in these articles — and was completely absent from the Defamatory Articles at issues in the Indian Action.”
It also said that Allen talked to Baltimore investor John Moag, who was hired by the minority investors to sell their shares in the franchise, on “at least 87 separate phone calls, lasting nearly 21 hours” between a period of Jan. 9, 2020, to Nov. 18, 2020. And, it noted, that in the six weeks leading up to the publication of the articles deemed defamatory, Allen spoke to Moag 21 times for 4.5 hours. The filing also said that Moag had contact with various media outlets during that same period.
The filing stated that Allen texted website links and excerpts of negative news coverage of Snyder to Moag “suggesting that Mr. Allen actively sought out such information.”
Allen joined the organization in December 2009 as an executive vice president/general manager. Though he long had power in the organization, he did not officially become team president until 2017. Allen was Snyder’s right-hand man at league meetings and in efforts to try to secure a new stadium site, an ongoing quest.
A series of stories by The Washington Post detailing sexual harassment in the franchise, some of which predated Allen’s tenure, led to an independent investigation by the NFL into the team. That investigation remains ongoing as the league has yet to receive a report.
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