By Amanda Costikyan Jones
WASHINGTON – As the National Football League prepares to hear the details this week of the high bid for the Washington Redskins, John Kent Cooke’s quest to buy the team from his father’s estate appears more and more to be a long-shot.
But if Cooke pulls it off, politicians looking to the team’s ownership for campaign contributions will likely be left out in the cold.
John Kent Cooke has made no federal political contributions at all in the years since 1979, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
His father, Jack Kent Cooke, who died in 1997, gave just $10,000 over the same time period.
The apparent winners in the bidding war for the Redskins — Daniel Snyder and Howard and Edward Milstein — are a little more generous toward politicians. The three men and their wives have given a total of $73,700 since 1993.
While that’s far more than the Cookes gave, it is just a fraction of the amount given by other sports franchise owners in the region, Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos and Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals owner Abe Pollin.
The Milstein Group has reportedly offered $800 million for the Redskins and Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, besting several other groups that submitted bids to the estate.
One of those losing bids came from the younger Cooke, who is reported to have offered $680 million to keep the team and the stadium in the family.
Trustees for Jack Kent Cooke’s estate told the Associated Press they now have a “binding agreement” to sell the team to the Milstein Group. The trustees are scheduled to present the details of the winning bid to a committee of NFL team owners Thursday.
But the NFL is still talking privately with the trustees in hopes of seeing details of both bids, said Joe Browne, the NFL’s senior vice president for communications.
The sale of the team cannot be finalized until the full NFL ownership votes to approve it.