Texas Rangers' Official Got Death Threats During Sale Process, Lawyer Said

William Snyder, the chief restructuring officer for the American League champion Texas Rangers baseball team, got death threats during the team’s bankruptcy proceedings, a lawyer in the case told a judge.

“If William were here, he would say this is a stinky case,” Snyder’s attorney, Louis Strubeck, told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge D. Michael Lynn in Fort Worth, Texas, during a closed-door conference call in July, according to a transcript of the call released yesterday. “He has received some serious, continuous death threats since he’s taken over.”

The Major League Baseball team filed for bankruptcy in May with a plan to sell the club to Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg. Creditors opposed the $575 million deal from the start, and Snyder, who was appointed to evaluate the proposed sale, pushed for an auction. The Rangers agreed to consider rival bids.

At the auction, Ryan, the team’s president, and Greenberg won the bidding with a $593 million offer, defeating Mark Cuban the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and Houston businessman Jim Crane, who joined to bid for the team together.

The July conference covered the conduct of the lawyers in the case and other aspects of the bankruptcy. The transcript of was released after the New York Times in September asked the court to unseal it.

‘Irate Fans’

Snyder, a managing partner at CRG Partners Group LLC, said in a phone interview yesterday that he got about five threatening e-mails from “irate fans” who wanted the team sold to Ryan, a former pitcher for the club. One person wrote that if Ryan didn’t get the team, “someone’s going to kill you,” he said.

The e-mails came at a point when Snyder had called off an auction and negotiated a sale agreement with Crane, he said. He said the U.S. Marshals Service investigated the messages.

By July, the Rangers were in contention to win their division. The club eventually went on to make its first ever appearance in the World Series, where it lost to the San Francisco Giants. Snyder, who said he didn’t feel in danger, said he understood why fans were frustrated that Ryan might not get control.

“The team had their ass kicked for the last 10 years. He manages it, and they’re on their way to a winning season. He’s the only hope they had,” he said.

During the July meeting, the judge complained about statements in the press from people involved in the case.

“If any of you or your clients want to take out a contract on me, tell them to be sure to aim true and to make it as painless as possible,” Lynn said.

The case is In re Texas Rangers Baseball Partners, 10-43400, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth).

To contact the reporters on this story: Dawn McCarty in Wilmington at dmccarty@bloomberg.net; David McLaughlin in New York at dmclaughlin9@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David E. Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.net.

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