City Desk

Cheap Seats Daily: Six Flags Investor Vinny Cerrato Leaves Redskins Park?

Vinny Cerrato quits.

Why leave now? Did he win at racquetball? Did, as a friend suggested immediately, Vinny want to make room for Jon Gruden to get hired during the upcoming"Monday Night Football" installment at FedExField? Or, did it finally hit Vinny that all the money that Dan Snyder made him invest in Six Flags is gone?

Let's suppose the latter, purely for digital column inches sake.

I don't read the financial papers, but I never get tired of reading Dan Snyder's SEC paperwork from when he was trying to take over Six Flags. There, you can find Snyder's fabulous quote that investors would have been better off "hiding their money under a mattress," and where he spells out the lineup of Red Zone LLC, the investment group he put together to become the largest Six Flags stockholder, and used to take over the Six Flags board.

Here's a passage from a Sept. 16, 2005 SEC filing, which we learn that Red Zone is made up of Snyder's family members and Redskins employees:

RedZone is controlled by its Managing Member, Daniel M. Snyder, who is also the principal owner and Chairman of the Washington Redskins football franchise. The other members of Red Zone are Arlette Snyder, Michele D.Snyder, Dwight Schar, David Pauken, Karl Swanson, Dennis Greene, Vincent Cerrato, Generation Capital Partners II LP and Generation Members' Fund IILP.

"Vincent Cerrato"! So official sounding.

AFTER THE JUMP: More SEC filings? How much money did Vinny's group lose at Six Flags? That much? Wow! Ken Harvey says be responsible? He'll get you a free taxi? Can white milk and chocolate milk get along? Ross Perot is going to host the EagleBank Bowl coin toss? Since when does a coin toss have a host? DykeHoGate™ dies? ScandalGate™ is born?)

The Redskins aren't the only losers Snyder put together. Red Zone owned 10,921,300 shares of Six Flags stock back then, and those were selling for $11.93 a share shortly after Snyder's take over succeeded. But now the company's bankrupt and the stock is trading at 8 cents a share this morning, on its way down to zero once the final gavel hits on Snyder's bankruptcy case. So the workplace kitty that was once worth more than $128 million is essentially worthless. So much for the golden parachute.

Now he's gonna have to get a job.

Big question: In his next workplace, will he go back to his nom de insolvency, "Vincent"? Or is "Vinny" here to stay?

***

One of the Redskins all-time solid citizens, Ken Harvey, called this morning to drum up awareness of Sober Ride. That's the offering from the Washington Regional Alcohol Program of free taxi rides of up to $50 (I believe that translates into 1 and a half zones using the old DC Zone map! Remember those?) to anybody who's drunk too much to drive.

Harvey, like Vinny Cerrato once was, is employed by the Washington Redskins. His title with the team is Director of Responsibility.

I wasn't sure what job description went with that title. So I told Harvey I'd been hearing stories on and off the radio about the highest-paid Redskins player's nights out in Reston, full of alleged big-time imbibing, and asked if that would be a situation for a Director of Responsibility to jump into.

Nah.

"It's mostly about community outreach," Harvey said. "But if players want to talk about issues, or if a player is identified in those situations, I let them know that I'm available to them."

Harvey also said he hasn't heard any of the Reston drinking tales, and, as a former player, warned against believing anything you hear about the antics of current players. But, just in case, information about Sober Ride is available at Redskins Park, he said.

Tis the season to get stinky drunk — the City Paper Christmas Party is tonight! — so, for more info on the program, go to www.soberride.com or call 800-200-taxi.

I last interviewed Harvey in 2003, when he had retired from football and was busy writing children's books. He was working on "Life in the 'Fridge," a series of books that used the goings-on inside a fictional refrigerator to teach life's lessons to kids 4 to 6 years old. One of Harvey's installments, "When Chocolate Milk Moved In," tells how Frank and Sally Gallon, a couple jugs of white milk living in the 'fridge, react when a jug of chocolate milk named Fuller Chocolate moves in alongside them on the top shelf. Can Frank and Sally just get along with Mr. Chocolate? (Spoiler alert: YES!)

Harvey told me this morning that he's still writing, only with his own kids now at 16 and 18 years old, he's moved on, subject-wise.

"I'm trying to write a thriller now," he says. "It's about four women and a boy who get stranded on a deserted island, and they try to raise the boy, but he becomes warped by the issues they bring."

Perhaps the Gallons and Mr. Chocolate can come get the poor kid and take him back to the Fridge and raise him proper.

Since I had Harvey on the line, I asked him about Vinny Cerrato's departure: "You knew something was going to happen," he says. "But you figured it would be at the end of the year. Why now? Why with just a few games left? I don't know. I'm surprised. But the Redskins always do things to surprise you."

One last reminder: If you're going to drive, don't drink anything stronger than chocolate milk.

***

EagleBank Bowl organizers put out a press release yesterday announcing that Ross Perot will "serve as Honorary Host for the coin toss" for the Dec. 29 game at RFK Stadium.

Since when does a coin toss have a "host"? And why Ross Perot? He doesn't have a thing to do with either UCLA or Temple University, the squads that will match up in the bowl. And does the name "Ross Perot" sell even one ticket in late 2009?

And, will Perot bring any of his famous visual aids to midfield for the tossing ceremony?

***

It ain't easy kickstarting a scandal. At least, not as easy as the D.C. Rollergirls thought it would be.

Officials with the local roller derby league told me earlier this week that a brouhaha was brewing over the Rollergirls appearance in recent commercials for Don Beyer Subaru. In the spots, skaters named "Dyke Diggler" "Five-Ho" come onscreen to talk up this Sunday's food drive at Beyer's Alexandria outpost. The officials, who asked that their names not be used, said Subaru's corporate offices were barraged with calls from viewers who didn't want to see "Dyke" on their TV screens.

To which, Subaru brass now say: "Really?"

"We didn't log one call here," Heather Ward, director of communications for Subaru, told me last night. "I've checked with everybody here. There wasn't one complaint at our call center. Nobody here had ever heard about that commercial until you called, and I only watched it on youtube because you called. I guess they're just drumming up some publicity on their own."

So, the Rollergirls just concocted the scandal? Wow! Just that fast, DykeHoGate™ becomes ScandalGate™!

Oh, well. It's a good cause: All non-perishables brought to Beyer Subaru during the Rollergirls' soireee will be donated to the Capital Area Food Bank.

***

Story tips? Wanna Play the Feud? Tube amps for sale? Send to: cheapseats@washingtoncitypaper.com

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Comments are closed.

Comments Shown. Turn Comments Off.
...