Trees on federal property are protected by law. They cannot simply be cut down, especially if there is no objective or logical reason behind them. But did you know that a billionaire was able to cut down federally protected trees for his own personal gain?
Billionaire Redskins Owner Dan Snyder made a shady deal with the National Park Service executives. He ordered to cut down 130 trees on federal land, since the trees were obstructing his view.
Who is Dan Snyder?
Daniel Marc Snyder was born on November 23, 1964, to Jewish couple Gerry and Arlette Snyder in Maryland. Snyder was keen on business, partnering with his father, a freelance writer when he was 17.
Their business venture was selling bus-trip packages to Washington Capitals fans to see their team play in Philadelphia. The business was a failure. He soon dropped out from the University of Maryland to focus on his new business. Snyder leased jets to fly college students to Fort Lauderdale and the Caribbean for their spring breaks. He said he earned $1 million from this business which he ran out of his parent’s bedroom with a couple of telephone lines and a few friends.
Snyder then tried publishing a magazine targeting college students. The magazine was called Campus USA. The magazine was funded by real estate entrepreneur and co-founder of the New York Daily News Mortimer Zuckerman. He invested about $3 million in the publication. The magazine ran for three years and failed to generate enough income through paid advertising.
At 25, Snyder realized that mass marketing was struggling because the world was transforming and segment markets had emerged. He came up with Wallboards, which attracted many investors, seeing potential profit in Snyder’s approach to advertising.
He soon partnered with his sister Michelle and came up with Snyder Communications, Inc. Their main activities were mainly outsourced marketing services, such as Direct marketing, database marketing, proprietary product sampling, sponsored information display in prime locations, call centers, field sales.
The company grew, and in 1996, they became part of the New York Stock Exchange, making Snyder the youngest CEO publicly listed at the age of 32. The company aggressively expanded through many acquisitions, and in 2000, it was purchased by a French advertising and marketing group Havas for over $2 billion. Snyder’s shares in the sale were estimated to be $300 million.
Snyder’s love of American football led him to purchase the Washington Redskins in 1999 after former owner Jack Kent Cooke passed away. Snyder helped the team increase its annual profit to nearly $100 million, making it the second-highest-grossing team in NFL through sponsorships and a $207 million deal with FedEx, renaming the team’s home field to FedExField.
In 2005, Snyder became the chairman of Six Flags Inc., owning 11.7% of the company, and in 2006, his broadcasting company, Red Zone Broadcasting, launched sports radio stations. Snyder also purchased several radio stations in the Mid-Atlantic region. Snyder purchased Dick Clark productions in 2007. Snyder’s entrepreneurial spirit turned him into one of the richest men in the US. (Source: Jewish Virtual Library)
The River Mansion
In 2000, Snyder purchased the Potomac River House from the late King Hussein. He bought the prime riverfront property for $8.64 million. Snyder and his wife extended it and gave it a luxurious makeover. It was remodeled, taking inspiration from 18th-century chateaux.
Snyder’s 15-acre riverfront home, located at 11900 River Road in Potomac, Maryland, boasts nine bedrooms, nine full bathrooms, four half bathrooms, spread across the main house, the guest house, and caretaker’s house, and gatehouse.
Outside you will find a motor court, a basketball court, several terraces, and a pool with a spa. To date, it is valued at $49 million. (Source: Luxatic)
View of the River
In 2005, Snyder noticed that he did not have a clear view of the river from his estate. Several trees were obstructing the view of the river. This obstruction was also hindering him from raising the value of his home.
Snyder, a billionaire who would get his way with things, tried to cut down the trees behind his home by offering a $25,000 donation to the National Park Service, which was declined as the trees were on federal property. Snyder discussed with executives of the government agency, securing a shady deal with the help of people in high places like then-president George W. Bush’s Department of Interior. (Source: Sports Casting)
The Park Service would cut down more than 130 trees to clear out the view in exchange for a possible share of any increased value of Snyder’s property. This shady deal was divulged by a couple of whistleblowers in the Park Service, and Robert Danno was one of them.
Danno helped bring the issue to the public, causing Snyder to be fined $37,000 and ordered to replace the 1.3 acres of native and exotic trees he destroyed. (Source: NY Daily News)