EARL FOREMAN, JERRY WOLMAN’S closest confidant and astute attorney, introduced his wife Phyllis and her immediate relatives to Wolman back in the mid-1950s. At family gatherings, Wolman met Phyllis’s stout father, Sol Snider, along with her brother, Ed, a bright recent graduate of the University of Maryland. Wolman took an instant liking to Sol, who was also involved in the real estate business and more than a dozen years wiser. Wolman invested in Sol’s Public National Bank, and the two became close friends.
One day in early 1962, Ed, now 29, called Wolman to ask for a favor. Eddie, six years Jerry’s junior, was struggling in the record business. He was short payroll for his record company, Edge Limited, and needed a small loan of $4,000. Jerry lent him the money. Ed and his then-partner, Gerald Lilienfield, repaid him the following week. This initial interest-free loan started a precedent of calls from Ed in search of short-term funds. Wolman was flush, and sorry for a young go-getter, and out of loyalty to Sol Snider and Earl Foreman, he raised no fuss.
Eventually, Ed called Wolman to explain that he would be unable to repay him approximately $30,000 and ask if he’d consider taking stock in the record company instead. Wolman received the all-but-worthless stock and forgave the young man’s loans. By the end of 1962, Snider’s Edge Limited business went belly-up.
Shortly thereafter, in the summer of 1963, a distraught Sol Snider telephoned his friend.
“Jerry, I’m worried about Eddie,” said Sol, his voice trembling. “He’s very depressed. … If there’s anything you can do to help him, I would consider it a tremendous favor.”
Wolman understood what Sol was asking of him. Sol arranged for Jerry to pick Eddie up at 16th and K Street in Washington, just down the block from Sol’s bank office. When Wolman saw the young Snider standing on the street corner, he was shocked. Ed looked like an unshaven, disheveled vagabond.
Snider plopped into the car, sullen and downtrodden. Jerry confided in strictest secrecy that he was negotiating to bid on the Philadelphia Eagles football franchise. Before Wolman could even complete his sentence, an instantaneous change came over Ed. He sat up straight, eagerly wanting to know the specifics of the prospects and plans. Wolman observed Snider’s impressive transformation and promised he’d make room for him somewhere if the purchase came to fruition.
Sol Snider called Jerry that night to thank him profusely and to say he’d never forget the favor.
BY THE MID-’60s, Ed Snider had come a long way from the D.C. street corner where Jerry Wolman had picked him and his spirits up. He was now treasurer and vice president of Wolman’s Eagles, with a high salary, entertainment expenses, and personal use of the company limo and chauffeur. Earl Foreman and Snider were Wolman’s right and left arms, assisting him in all his decisions. When Wolman attended league meetings for