State Watch

Virginia, DC AGs to probe Washington Commanders’ alleged financial improprieties

Republican candidate for Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares Virginia speaks at an event at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Va., on Thursday, July 29, 2021 with Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin.
Greg Nash

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) and Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine plan to launch separate investigations into the allegations that the Washington Commanders engaged in a series of financial improprieties. 

In a Monday letter obtained by The Hill, Miyares’s office wrote to the attorneys of the NFL franchise that it will conduct a full investigation of the matter, hoping that the team will fully cooperate with their inquiry. 

“The Office of the Attorney General of Virginia is conducting an official inquiry into this matter. To be clear, I have not prejudged the issues raised regarding the Commanders. However, I view it as my responsibility to carefully examine the material facts regarding this matter after it was brought to my attention,” Miyares wrote. “I request full cooperation and transparency from your client during this inquiry.” 

Meanwhile, Racine said in a statement to The Hill that the “disturbing details of misconduct by the Washington Commanders and Dan Snyder that we’ve seen in extensive public reporting are deeply troubling.”

“No one should face mistreatment at work and no organization can evade the law. The Commanders’ players and employees, and District residents, deserve a thorough investigation that determines exactly what happened and holds those accountable for any illegal conduct. We encourage those who experienced or witnessed misconduct to contact our office,” Racine said.

Miyares’s office said it was first notified of the matter when the House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) sent them a copy of her panel’s own letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on the new allegations. 

The Commanders sent a letter to FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan last week, with team attorney Jason Siev writing that Jason Friedman, who spent 24 years as the team’s vice president of sales and customer service, made claims to Oversight that were “baseless,” “reckless” and “false,” calling him a “disgruntled” employee. 

In his interview, Friedman told the committee that the team kept two sets of books, one of which was shared with the league and did not fully report certain ticket revenue, and another one that included the complete and accurate revenue, which was then shown to team owner Dan Snyder.

“As set forth in more detail below, the Committee’s Letter – which relies solely on the uncorroborated, false testimony of a single disgruntled former employee – sets forth easily and fully rebuttable allegations,” Siev wrote in the letter. 

“Had the Committee requested any information from the Team on the issues raised in the Committee’s letter, the Team could, and would, have provided testimony and documents making clear that the complained-of conduct did not occur. Based upon all the information provided herein, no investigation is warranted.”

The NFL also launched an investigation into the team in February after former cheerleader and marketing manager Tiffani Johnston accused Snyder of sexually harassing her during a work-related dinner during a House Oversight Committee roundtable discussion on the matter. 

In a statement to The Hill, Friedman’s attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz applauded Miyares’s decision to investigate the latest allegations into the team. 

“We are pleased that the Attorney General of Virginia will conduct an official inquiry into the facts our client revealed about his experiences while working for the Washington Commanders,” Banks and Katz said in their statement. “He is prepared to cooperate fully and answer any questions from the Virginia Attorney General’s office or any other government agency.”

In response to a request for comment, the Commanders released a previous statement saying, “The team categorically denies any suggestion of financial impropriety of any kind at any time.”

—Updated at 10:32 p.m.

Tags Carolyn Maloney Dan Snyder Dan Snyder Daniel Snyder financial improprieties financial improprieties House Oversight and Reform Committee House Oversight Committee Jason Miyares Jason Miyares Karl Racine Lina Khan NFL NFL NFL Virginia Washington Commanders Washington Commanders Washington Commanders

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