DC AG: More to come on commanders' alleged financial irregularities

DC AG: More to come on commanders’ alleged financial irregularities


While announcing a consumer protection lawsuit against the Washington Commanders, team owner Daniel Snyder, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and DC Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) said Thursday that prosecution was only the first item on his agenda.

Next week, Racine’s office plans to disclose more about its findings regarding the commanders’ alleged financial improprieties. The team has repeatedly denied committing financial malfeasance.

“We are going to give Mr. Snyder and his team the opportunity to repay exactly what we have found they owe DC residents,” Racine said. “But this is not going to be a long opportunity, and we will prepare a legal document which will be filed in court next week if an agreement is not reached.”

Some former season ticket holders recently received letters from the team regarding refundable deposits, and Racine said it was “of course” related to his office’s investigation.

“We haven’t accepted deposits for nearly a decade, and began returning deposits to ticket holders as early as late 2004,” a team spokesperson said. “We sent a letter a few weeks ago as part of the latest awareness campaign to return deposits to ticket holders.”

Racine’s office had been investigating Commanders and Snyder after allegations of workplace misconduct and sexual harassment, as well as allegations of financial impropriety made by a former employee.

“We have investigated the team not only with regard to these outrageous and illegal acts against women and [against] their employees, but we also … received a recommendation from Congress and, acting responsibly, we dug this,” Racine said.

DC Attorney General Sues Daniel Snyder, Commanders, NFL

The commanders and Snyder are also under investigation by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, the NFL and the office of Virginia Attorney General Jason S. Miyares (R). Investigators from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia also questioned witnesses about alleged financial improprieties involving the team, according to several people familiar with the situation.

Jason Friedman, the team’s former vice president of sales and customer service, told the House committee this year that commanders have engaged in a long-standing practice of withholding refundable deposits from season ticket holders. and hiding the money that was supposed to be split among other NFL owners.

In recent weeks, some former subscribers shared letters received from commanders stating that the team tried to contact them once before to no avail and are contacting them again to return the deposit. The letters state that state law “requires the team to report and/or remit the funds” to the season ticket holder’s account if they are unclaimed.

A former season ticket holder, Christopher Barnett, told the Post that he had tickets for two seats over a five-year term in the 1990s. He did not renew after the term expired and he did not don’t recall hearing the team talk about a deposit refund until they received a letter in October.

“It’s no surprise that when the sheriff is hot on your heels, the conduct starts to conform to the law,” Racine said, adding that the team “should hurry.”

Racine announced the consumer protection lawsuit less than two months before his scheduled departure. He said Thursday he was “pretty confident” the case would move forward under the watch of Attorney General-elect Brian Schwalb.

“As soon as Brian acquits ethics and ceases his employment with the law firm he works at, he will get all the information he wants on all the cases we have,” Racine said.

Svrluga: Commanders’ biggest threat, as always, comes from within the house

The lawsuit, filed in the Civil Division of DC Superior Court, alleges that the Commanders and the NFL violated the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act with “public misrepresentations, omissions and ambiguities of material facts.” “.

Racine’s office said it is seeking financial penalties under the CPPA for each misrepresentation made by COs, Snyder, the NFL and Goodell to residents of the district dating back to July 2020. He is also seeking a court order to force the NFL to release the findings of a previous team workplace investigation conducted by attorney Beth Wilkinson.

The DC Attorney General, unlike attorneys general in all 50 states, cannot prosecute adult crimes and felonies. The US Attorney’s Office handles such cases.

“The [team] may seek to have our case dismissed,” Racine said. “We will issue subpoenas. We will ask for evidence under oath. Depositions. I promise you. Let me just give you a hunch: the depositions probably won’t happen on a yacht but at a conference in the District of Columbia because no one is above the law.

When asked if he had any communications with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, Racine declined to provide details.

“I think it’s best for us not to get into that,” he said. “I can tell you that we have certainly done some outreach.”

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