Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder wanted an unobstructed view of the Potomac River from his Maryland mansion, which would require cutting down trees in a park designated a national historic site. Snyder’s desire for that view ended up wrecking a park ranger’s career:
It was a small concession in the grand scheme of things, the kind that the rich and powerful frequently wheedle out of government, especially back then, during the presidency of George W. Bush, when such favors were flowing like booze in a skybox. But its discovery set off a decade-long campaign of bureaucratic retribution over two administrations that nearly sent an innocent man to prison. The story of that little favor wonderfully (if depressingly) encapsulates the essential character of our times, in which average people who play by the rules are made to suffer by the blithe manipulation of those rules by the people at the top.