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There goes the NFL!
Sure, the league is flying higher than ever now — TV coverage of the NFL draft drew a bigger audience than the NBA playoffs this spring. But mark down July 28, 2010 as the day everything started rolling downhill.
That’s the day the reports surfaced that the NFL has brought in Dan Snyder protege/partner-in-debacles Mark Shapiro.
Yesterday, the web site Sports By Brooks told us that Shapiro “is now consulting for the league on television matters – including NFL Network games and studio shows.”
Good news for the NFL: The reliability of the Sports By Brooks’ report is suspect. When giving Shapiro’s bio, we’re told, “Shapiro is currently running Six Flags after being lured away from Bristol by Redskins Owner Dan Snyder.”
Well, now….As both my readers know well, Shapiro WAS running Six Flags — until he and Snyder ran it straight into the ground. With CEO Shapiro and Chairman of the Board Snyder calling the shots, Six Flags filed for Chapter 11 more than a year ago.
When he was hired by Snyder in 2005, Shapiro said his salary would be tied to the value of Six Flags stock. He and Snyder then took Six Flags stock price from $11.93 per share down to nothingness. So during bankruptcy proceedings, Snyder and Shapiro wrote up an unbelievable golden parachute that gave Shapiro millions upon millions of dollars — one $3 million payment was labeled a “success bonus,” though Shapiro and Snyder’s only success in four-plus years at the helm of Six Flags came in bankrupting the company — while stockholders lost everything.
Snyder was bounced brutally from his chairmanship during the reorganization proceedings, while Shapiro got his comeuppance from the newly installed Six Flags board shortly after the company emerged from bankruptcy.
So while, sorry Sports by Brooks, Shapiro isn’t running Six Flags, he is still Snyder’s partner, and is now president of Dick Clark Productions. That’s the company that Snyder bought for $175 million with money from his Red Zebra investment fund, then used the cash of Six Flags stockholders to defray the purchase price by 40 percent.
Like Snyder, Shapiro was conflicted out the wazoo while Six Flags and Dick Clark hammered out deals. Shapiro was Six Flags CEO and president of Dick Clark Productions, which is also a major vendor for Six Flags, at the same time.
That arrangement’s shaky enough to register on the Richter Scale, ain’t it?
Six Flags isn’t the only place that Shapiro showed he’s got the Midas Touch…in Opposite Land! On May 9, 2008, Shapiro was elected to the board of directors of the Tribune Company. On the following Dec. 9, that corporation also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Great move, NFL!