Credit: USA Today
Things seem to keep getting worse and worse for Dan Snyder.
The House Oversight Committee announced Tuesday that it has reason to believe the Washington Commanders “may hav engaged in a troubling, long-running, and potentially unlawful pattern of financial conduct,” including withholding or concealing ticket revenue and related funds.
In a letter sent to the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday, the committee says that as part of its ongoing investigation into a toxic workplace culture within the Commanders’ organization, it obtained evidence that the team might have underreported some of its ticket revenue, a portion of which has to be shared with the NFL and it’s other teams as apart of the league’s revenue-sharing agreement.
In addition, the committee also informed the FTC, which investigates deceptive business practices, that the team might have intentionally withheld “approximately $5 million” in refundable ticket deposits that is owed to fans and corporations.
“This new information suggests that in addition to fostering a hostile workplace culture, Mr. Snyder also may have cheated the team’s fans and the NFL,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.
“While the focus of our investigation remains the Commanders’ toxic work environment, I hope the FTC will review this troubling financial conduct and determine whether further action is necessary. We must have accountability.”
In a statement released through a spokesperson late last month, Washington said it “categorically denies any suggestion of financial impropriety of any kind at any time.”
In its letter, the House Oversight Committee said it received information about the alleged financial misconduct from Jason Friedman, a former sales executive who spent 24 years with the Commanders.
According to the letter, Friedman told the committee that, among other things, the Commanders used “two sets of books,” one of which underreported ticket revenue to the NFL. He provided emails to the committee between himself and other team executives in which they appear to discuss reallocating ticket revenue, which they termed “juice.”
One email exchange appears to reference counting “juice” from a Washington home game as revenue from a college football game between Navy and Notre Dame.
“Even though we sold $811,800 worth of tickets, we reported that sale to the NFL at a total of $721,600, leaving $162,360 of juice, of money that would just go right into the owner’s pocket and didn’t have to be exposed to the NFL revenue sharing program,” Friedman told the committee, according to an excerpt of his interview included in the letter.
Attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent Friedman, described the House Committee’s letter as “damning.”
“It’s clear that the team’s misconduct goes well beyond the sexual harassment and abuse of employees already documented and has also impacted the bottom line of the NFL, other NFL owners, and the team’s fans,” they said in a statement.