Prospective Baltimore NFL team owner Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass apparently is the victim of an anonymous smear campaign aimed at blocking his football bid.
A packet of uncomplimentary news articles and an unsigned, poison-pen letter arrived at the offices of several newspapers around the country this week.
"Boogie Weinglass . . . is Bad News!!!," says the letter, which was mailed to a number of reporters covering NFL expansion, including those at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, USA Today, Charlotte Observer, Memphis Commercial-Appeal and Florida Times-Union of Jacksonville.
Baltimore is competing against St. Louis, Charlotte, N.C., Memphis, Tenn., and Jacksonville, Fla., for one of two franchises the league plans to award at meetings that begin Oct. 26.
The packet, mailed in an envelope with no return address and a Baltimore postmark, contains copies of stories from The Sun and Washington Post. A short letter raises unsubstantiated allegations about Weinglass.
A number of NFL owners contacted said they have not received the letter, which apparently was sent only to reporters. An NFL spokesman said the league knew nothing about the letter.
"Like most anonymous things it's obviously somebody that holds a grudge against Boogie. It's just dredging up stuff that has already been gone over," said Mike Sullivan, a co-investor with Weinglass in the team and president of Merry-Go-Round Enterprises, the Joppa-based retailer founded by Weinglass.
Weinglass could not be reached for comment.
Herbert J. Belgrad, coordinator of the city's NFL bid and chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, said both Weinglass and his rival for a Baltimore team, Florida-based investor Malcolm Glazer, have passed background checks by the NFL.
"I've been told on several occasions by the NFL that both of our ownership groups have passed checks for moral character and finances," Belgrad said. "I'm not surprised that as we get closer to decision day that every effort will be made to undermine every person in every city," Belgrad said.