The two greatest days in Dan Snyder’s life are the day he buys a boat, and the day he buys a bigger boat.
Snyder’s recent purchase of the Lady S—reported by the Guardian as a $100 million, 305-foot vessel equipped with the world’s first floating IMAX theater—made the all-the-wrong-moves NFL owner an early bogeyman for Sen. Elizabeth Warren as she launches her 2020 presidential campaign. Over the weekend, the candidate used news about Snyder’s latest billionaire boy toy to rally support for the sort of tax reform that will likely make up a plank in her platform.
This isn’t Snyder’s first boat rodeo. The Lady S, in fact, is his third and silliest superyacht yet. His first big boat was a 160-something footer, also called M/Y Lady S, built in 1997. He sold that ship about a decade ago to Mort Zuckerman, the billionaire media mogul who had mentored Snyder in his early 20s and later threw tens of millions of dollars into the kitty Snyder collected to buy the Washington NFL team. (That act alone makes most Skins fans wish Zuckerman would steer the boat, which he renamed the Lazy Z, into an iceberg.)
Then in 2011, Snyder shelled out a reported $70 million for the Lady Anne, a 224-footer called “one of the 100 largest yachts in the world” by Power & Motoryacht. Here’s a little more about the Lady Anne, in Britspeak, from Burgess, an international yacht broker:
From the moment you step on board you are taken back in time to the grace and glamour of the 1920s, with a La Modern French period design throughout. A magnificent spiralling five-storey staircase leads you to the spacious decks, be it the comfort of the main salon, the fabulously appointed theatre room or the light and airy upper salon for a pre-dinner cocktail.
Snyder bought the Lady Anne from Jerome Fisher, a guy whose investing career has been as much of a Poseidon adventure as Snyder’s football ownership. Fisher did the boat deal with Snyder just as he was getting over both the closing of the KL Group, a fraudulent $194 million hedge fund he was in deep with, and getting taken for a reported $150 million by Bernie Madoff, the celebrated swindler to the filthy rich. Fisher made some gossip columns in in 2008, a week after Madoff’s arrest, for getting in a brawl at a Mar-a-Lago birthday party; filthy rich guests who’d been ripped off by Madoff brouhaha’d with filthy rich guests who hadn’t. “There were a lot of unhappy campers there,” resort owner Donald Trump told the Palm Beach Post after witnessing the brawl. (Amusingly, Zuckerman also got taken by Madoff for a reported $40 million.)
Some stats on the Lady Anne, which Snyder rechristened as the second Lady S: Its fuel tanks carried 55,212 gallons of diesel, and in the open sea the boat consumed an average of 10 gallons per nautical mile. When I checked pump prices shortly after Snyder’s purchase, diesel was going for $7.01 a gallon in the Cayman Islands port where Snyder had registered the boat, meaning it cost $388,685.44 per fill-up.
Now he’s got his third and most overboard Lady S. There’s been no word that Snyder sold off the previous Lady S, on which he was last spotted at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and over New Year’s 2019 in St. Barths, to pay for the new ship.
To summarize Snyder’s growth: He’s gone from owning a 160-foot boat to owning a 224-foot boat AND a 305-foot boat. Yes, he’s now got a vessel the size of a football field.
Speaking of football fields: Elizabeth Warren targeting Snyder’s ilk as a government revenue source comes at the same time the team owner has been baiting state and local officials in the D.C. area to outbid each other for the right to build his squad a new stadium.
Public servants can in good faith quibble over the righteousness of Warren’s proposal to go all Robin Hood on Snyder to cut education costs for less fortunate landlubbers. But what sorta pawn would even think of giving ANY public money to a guy currently flaunting a $170 million flotilla of superyachts?
Oh, right: This sorta pawn.
Disclosure: Dan Snyder once sued the author for writing mean things about him.