The City Paper, a small alternative Washington newspaper, published an article detailing dozens of Snyder's inept and unpopular actions as team owner and businessman. It included the 2005 controversy surrounding the removal of more than 130 trees on National Park Service land adjacent to Snyder's home to improve his view of the Potomac River. Afterward Snyder paid a $37,000 fine and planted seedlings to replace the trees. Needless to say it will takes decades for the seedlings to reach the height of the previous trees and meanwhile Mr. Snyder will have an unobstructed view of the river. I remember this well because I lived in Fairfax County Virginia at the time. The episode marked one of the rare times Snyder got crisis PR help. He retained Mike Sitrick, who helped with damage control for the Michael Jackson family after the pop star's death and Paris Hilton after one of her arrests. Mr. Snyder is threatening a lawsuit against the paper and demanding that they fire the author of the article.
Mr. Robert Danno, the Shenandoah Junction resident and National Park Service employee who reported the tree removal to authorities, hasn't been as lucky as Mr. Snyder. Soon after he made his disclosures, he experienced a variety of administrative actions, including temporary reassignment, investigation, frivolous administrative charges, Board of Inquiry, suspension, isolation, permanent reassignment and criminal charges. He was removed from his position as chief ranger and reassigned for more than two years to the George Washington Memorial Parkway, where he was required to commute to Mt. Vernon from West Virginia, to issue picnic permits.
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