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Furniture store apologizes over Snyder report

Daniel Snyder doesn't own this desk.

Here's the great thing about being a sportswriter in the modern era: one day you might be writing about, I don't know, sports or something. And the next day you might be writing about New York furniture store employees getting terminated over false reports of NFL team owners buying alligator-skin desks.

So, to get the news up top, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder did not, in fact, buy any alligator-skin desks from Giorgio' s of Palm Beach, that couture shop that recently opened a second location on Madison Avenue.

To recap, the new store is getting ready for its grand opening, and an item in Page Six of Tuesday's New York Post said that Snyder spent $600,000 on two alligator leather desks and chairs for his office at FedEx Field. This news was taken as gospel by plenty of blogs, mine included, and we all merrily went on our way, cracking jokes about Snyder's last high-profile Gator acquisition, for example.

Turned out, though, that this Gator story was a croc(k). (Thanks, Cindy!) By Tuesday afternoon, the Redskins had fired off a truly hilarious press release, noting that Snyder has no office at FedEx Field, doesn't need any desks at any of his offices, and isn't that into alligators anyhow.

"The story is crazy," Snyder said in the release. "I don't even own a pair of alligator shoes."

Redskins COO Dave Donovan said in the release that the store was "making up a story in order to sell furniture," and that the Redskins were demanding a retraction. The store quickly responded: by firing the employee who gave the information to the New York Post and by apologizing to the Snyders.

"It's very embarrassing for me and my company," owner George Sharoubim said, when I reached him in Italy. (Yes, really.)

"I had no knowledge of any of these matters. Dan is a great guy and I really like him very much on a personal level, he's always pleasant, but to tell the truth, he never purchased any alligator desks from my store."

Page Six also printed a new story about the fired employee, while the NFL's Joe Browne tweeted that Snyder has kept a sense of humor about the situation while at league meetings.

"It was Woody or Tisch who did this; the season has begun," Snyder reportedly said.

Snyder has shopped in Sharoubim's Palm Beach location before, but this is a private matter; the owner compared it to a lawyer-client situation, and said employees should never discuss what clients buy or when they but it. He said the rogue employee "took it upon herself to say things that are not true" and "got the whole story twisted around," and he offered a sincere apology to the Snyders and the Redskins.

"I've been in business over 25 years, and I've never had an issue like this, never," he told me. "I guess there's always a first time."

Which is pretty much what I was thinking as I filed this sports story about alligator furniture. By the way, the shop has a million-dollar alligator piano, if you're interested.

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 2, 2010; 8:16 PM ET
Categories:  Media , Redskins  
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Sounds like "Gator-Gate" to me

Posted by: Wilmington2 | March 2, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Another lame dig at the NY Post which scooped the Washington Post on the Arenas story. It's pathetic really

Posted by: nativedc | March 3, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

What does Dave Donovan (COO) do all day??? Montior negative news stories about Little Danny??

Last time I checked the Redskins had alot more losses than wins. More focus on producing a winning team and a better game day experience, LESS Focus on protecting a little billonaire!

Posted by: mb15 | March 3, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

The desk is in better shape than Albert Haynesworth. $600,000 looks like a steal. Another bad move by Dan Snyder in the free agent market.

Posted by: pearlbullets | March 3, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Pure speculation, but I wouldn't doubt that Snyder was buying the desks and then once the word leaked canceled the purchase. He's on a first name basis with the owner, (I thought we were supposed to call him "Mr. Snyder") so he's no stranger to shopping at Giorgio's apparently. And the owner further preaches client confidentiality.

Posted by: md268 | March 3, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Have it from a reliable source that Little Danny wasn't so much interested in the desk as he was in the chair that went with it. It seems the chair is specifically engineered to give the occupant a little lift and make him appear a few inches taller.

Posted by: Vic1 | March 3, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

If the owner said the employee ""got the whole story twisted around," then there is a story, and you should talk to the employee and find out what it is. Dan is obviously a customer, and one whose business the owner appreciates, so what did he buy? Was the big twist that it's actually for his Ashburn office and not FedEx?

Posted by: filmjoy | March 3, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Another lame dig at the NY Post which scooped the Washington Post on the Arenas story. It's pathetic really

Posted by: nativedc | March 3, 2010 12:17 AM

Really?? I don't think the Bog cares that much about real stories. Gotta love the conspiracy theories!

Posted by: wisdom80 | March 3, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Actually, the desk is 6' 6" by 3' 10" and weighs in at 770 lbs., making it the ideal nose tackle the Skins are looking for, according to a League Source. Concerns about the desk's relatively slow time in the 40 (four minutes, with professional movers) are largely offset by its obvious athleticism. Plus it's smarter than Albert Haynesworth.

Posted by: eyestreet | March 3, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

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