Only on 7: Whistleblower in Dan Snyder scandal writes a book
In an interview you will only see on ABC7, a National Park Ranger says he paid the price for blowing the whistle about an incident involving Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.
It all stems from when Snyder removed trees behind his Potomac home. Some of the trees were on federal property.
Robert Danno was once the highest ranking park ranger in the region. But after speaking up, he says he faced relentless retaliation.
And he hopes his new book will force the agency to rethink its priorities.
"Being a National Park Ranger was a childhood dream of mine," Danno tells ABC7's Ben Eisler. "I loved doing it, I loved being part of the agency and I loved being part of the Rangers. And I felt like my career was being stolen from me."
In 2004, Snyder cut down more than an acre of federally protected forest adjacent to his property. It had blocked his view of the Potomac River. And the Park Service gave him permission.
"I was flabbergasted," Danno says. "I've never seen anything else like that in my career, that someone in the National Park Service could undercut our primary mission."
The agency had turned down Snyder's request before -- despite his offer of $25,000 along with it. And Danno knew the agency shouldn't have approved it this time, either.
So he reported it.
"Either I was going to support the false statements and the lies, or live up to my oath of office," Danno says now.
An investigation by the Inspector General later found that the Park Service had in fact failed to follow its own guidelines.
Nevertheless, Danno says he has faced painful retaliation. He was demoted, and forced to commute every day from his home in West Virginia to Mount Vernon--to issue picnic permits.
"There were four picnic tables in this small city park, an activity that we wouldn't even assign to an entry-level seasonal employee.
Danno's new book, Worth Fighting For, details his story. He says it's the only option he has left for changing how the agency does business.
"For the better leadership, management of the Park Service, so these parks are protected for future generations."
Danno says his comments are his own and he does not speak for the Park Service.
The agency says it cannot comment because that would risk invading Danno's privacy.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Attorney's Office never prosecuted any of the Park Service officials.
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