***UPDATE: Ken Meringolo discussed today's topic with David Donovan himself. Tomorrow, The Revolution update will feature the interview and further thoughts on the subject.
Must read. David Donovan, the Redskins Chief Operating Officer, explains how all the negativity with the ticket brokers, suing of fans, and the bad Snyder press was blown completely out of proportion by the Washington Post. He makes a lot of great defenses with all the recent scandals, but then at the same time, the Redskins are now blocking the media from interviewing fans in the parking lot (UPDATE: TV cameras only). I cannot recall in any sport where there was such a THEM vs US mentality when it comes to the hostility and distrust between an ownership and their fan base. Here's his comment regarding Ticketgate:
Well, it is not our business practice to sell to brokers and it is not our business practice and never has been to sue the fans. What was involved in those cases was a handful of contracts with the 24,000 people that hold premium club seats and suites. These are not general admission ticket holders, which your organization reported that they were.
The Post reported that why would we sue these people if we had 160,000 people on the wait list.
Okay, you guys knew that was completely false. There is no wait-list for club seats. None of these people involved in these lawsuits were general admission season ticket holders.
*****Update from Ken Meringolo:
I added this to the comment section below but I wanted to comment on David Donovan's assertions with first-hand testimony to the contrary.
When I read the articles that the Washington Post reported after their investigation, I believed every word..EVERY WORD. Why? Because those things happened to me. I was offered club level tickets by Jason Friedman back in 2000. They say that club level people aren't "waiting list" people. Well, guess who they call to try and sell those tickets to? "Waiting list" people. My name was on the waiting list and they called me to tell me that while they had no available seats in the general admission area, they did have club seats available and I could buy them immediately. I was single, gainfully employed and dying to get season tickets. I was apprehensive about the added cost of club level seats, but Freidman told me not to worry, that if I signed a long-term deal, he would move me down to cheaper seats in two years. I called him before the third season to take him up on this promise and he told that I was unable to move out of my section because I was in a contract. What? I remember specifically wondering if this was happening to other people and the idea to call a reporter crossed my mind. But you know what stopped me? I signed my name to a contract and unlike the douchebag who promised me something he couldn't deliver, I was inclined to honor an agreement I had entered into (albeit naively and stupidly.) So I did. Then things went south for me financially (as well as many others). I called to tell them I was having trouble scrounging the dough for season tickets that year. They stonewalled me. They offered to stretch out my payments over the next two months at a credit card-type interest rate as I recall.
This next part is important because it underlines why David Donovan's stance is hard to swallow. I asked them something to the tune of, "Well, listen, I can't put Redskins tickets on the table for my family to eat, so I might just have to give them up--what happens then?"
They mentioned legal action right away. RIGHT AWAY. Because I was under contract, they threatened legal recourse at THAT POINT. (Sounds like a business practice to me) I feel my intelligence is somewhat insulted when I hear that this was not the business practice. I signed a contract that was too rich for me in the first place, so shame on me. I honored my contract when it was the hardest thing in the world to do. I did it because I was very much certain that if I did not make my payment, I would be sued...by the team I loved. BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT YOU GUYS TOLD ME YOU WOULD DO. I could not stomach that.
I don't know David Donovan personally, so I can not and will not speak to his personal character. But BASED ON MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, I can tell you that in this case, his position is wrong. I have a hard time believing the team's intent was and is not to sue fans. Because you guys made it clear that I would be sued if I did not pay for my tickets. How is that not a "business practice"?