Aug 29, 2019; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder on the field before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Daniel Snyder offers to testify remotely before House committee

Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder offered July 28 and 29 as dates that he would be able to testify before the House Oversight Committee via video conference, ESPN reported Thursday.

Snyder’s attorney, Karen Patton Seymour, told committee chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-New York) in a letter that she offered the two dates in late July after the committee originally proposed July 6 or 8. Seymour claimed that she had not heard from Maloney since June 30.

The committee is investigating allegations about the Commanders’ workplace culture. Media reports have detailed allegations of sexual misconduct from 15 female ex-employees, including multiple accusations of sexual harassment against Snyder in particular. While those women have spoken out publicly, at least 50 ex-employees reportedly have complained about the workplace culture.

A spokesperson for the committee said in a statement late last month that Snyder had “so far refused to accept service of the Committee’s subpoena” and it would not “tolerate attempts to evade service of a duly authorized subpoena or seek special treatment” on the matter.

Snyder’s camp pushed back, saying he was not refusing to appear for a deposition.

The Washington owner has said he has been out of the country on business on the dates the House committee has proposed. Seymour also said in Thursday’s letter that Snyder planned to spend “much of July” and “into August” in Israel while observing the one-year anniversary of the death of his mother.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell testified before the committee remotely in June.

Snyder is at the center of multiple controversies. In addition to the House committee inquiry, the Virginia attorney general said in April that he was launching an investigation into allegations regarding the team’s business practices.

Oversight and Reform obtained evidence that Snyder had team executives illegally withhold refundable security deposits from ticket holders and kept two sets of books to hide revenue from the NFL in order to contribute less to the revenue-sharing pool.

In May 1999, NFL owners unanimously approved the sale of the Washington franchise and the old Jack Kent Cooke Stadium to a group headed by Snyder, who then was 34. The group paid $800 million, which at the time was a record purchase price for a U.S. sports franchise.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2020; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Ron Rivera looks on as owner Daniel Snyder speaks during his introductory press conference at Inova Sports Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

House Oversight Committee: Daniel Snyder trying to ‘evade’ subpoena

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform so far has been unable to serve Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder with a subpoena to testify on Capitol Hill, a spokesperson said Monday.

The committee is investigating allegations about the Commanders’ workplace culture. Media reports have detailed allegations of sexual misconduct from 15 female ex-employees, including multiple accusations of sexual harassment against Snyder in particular. While those women have spoken out publicly, at least 50 ex-employees reportedly have complained about the workplace culture.

“Mr. Snyder has so far refused to accept service of the Committee’s subpoena,” the spokesperson’s statement said. “While the committee has been, and remains, willing to consider reasonable accommodations requested by witnesses, we will not tolerate attempts to evade service of a duly authorized subpoena or seek special treatment not afforded to other witnesses who testified in this matter. The Committee will not be deterred from obtaining Mr. Snyder’s testimony, and we remain committed to ensuring transparency about the toxic workplace culture at the Washington Commanders and the NFL’s inadequate response.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell testified before the committee on the matter last week. Snyder declined an invitation to testify, citing business that required overseas travel. Committee chair Carolyn Maloney (D-New York) responded by saying she would subpoena Snyder to appear.

The Athletic reported that Snyder’s attorney declined to accept a subpoena on Snyder’s behalf Friday.

After a 2020 Washington Post report initially revealed many of the allegations, the NFL launched its own investigation led by attorney Beth Wilkinson. The league fined the Commanders $10 million in 2021 and had Snyder step away from day-to-day operations, but Wilkinson’s findings were not released publicly, prompting the House committee to request that commissioner Roger Goodell release everything related to the investigation.

Last week, the committee released a 29-page memo based on its own eight-month investigation, which found that Snyder conducted his own “shadow investigation” into workplace allegations in an attempt to discredit the accusers.

Snyder is at the center of multiple investigations. In addition to the House committee inquiry, the Virginia attorney general said in April that he was launching an investigation into allegations regarding the team’s business practices.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform obtained evidence that Snyder had team executives illegally withhold refundable security deposits from ticket holders and kept two sets of books to hide revenue from the NFL in order to contribute less to the revenue-sharing pool.

Goodell told the committee last week that he has no authority to remove Snyder as owner of the Commanders. An owner can only be removed by a three-quarters majority vote (24 of 32) of fellow owners, although Goodell does have the authority to recommend a vote.

In May 1999, NFL owners unanimously approved the sale of the Washington franchise and the old Jack Kent Cooke Stadium to a group headed by Snyder, who then was 34. The group paid $800 million, which at the time was a record purchase price for a U.S. sports franchise.

–Field Level Media

Sep 15, 2019; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder looks over the field before a game against the Dallas Cowboys at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Details of sexual assault allegation against Daniel Snyder emerge

A female employee within the Washington Commanders’ organization accused owner Daniel Snyder of sexual harassment and assault in April 2009, according to a report by the Washington Post.

In a letter obtained by the Post that a team attorney sent to the woman’s lawyer, the alleged victim said that Snyder asked for sex, groped her and also attempted to remove her clothes. According to the letter, the encounter happened in a secluded area of a private plane on a flight back to Washington following a work trip.

The letter was written by Howard Shapiro of WilmerHale law firm, which was tasked with helping look into the accusations against Snyder. Shapiro insisted that the claims were “knowingly false.”

Snyder also denied the woman’s claims, according to the letter.

A $1.6 million settlement was reached in 2009, originally reported by the Post in 2020. The woman had accused Snyder of sexual misconduct, but there were no further details reported since the settlement was confidential, and the woman was not allowed to speak publicly on the matter.

The team’s investigation of the sexual assault allegations was supervised by then-general counsel David Donovan, though at the time the NFL’s conduct policy stated that the league office must oversee any sexual assault investigations.

Donovan noted that passengers on the plane who had been interviewed did not mention any signs of struggle. He also said that the woman was flirtatious and wore provocative clothing to combat a claim that she made stating that she had an “impeccable personal and professional reputation.”

The report comes one day before NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is scheduled to testify remotely before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which is investigating Snyder and the Commanders over various accusations of workplace misconduct. Snyder has declined to testify.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2020; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder speaks during the introductory press conference for head coach Ron Rivera at Inova Sports Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Commanders deny all financial allegations in letter to FTC

The Washington Commanders issued a 22-page letter to the Federal Trade Commission on Monday strongly denying all allegations of financial crimes brought against them last week.

In an effort to convince the FTC not to begin an investigation into its business practices, the team gathered three signed affidavits from former executives that dispute the allegations of former ticket executive Jason Friedman, who testified to Congress about his knowledge of Washington’s alleged schemes.

The House Oversight & Reform Committee last week told the FTC in a letter that it had obtained evidence that Commanders owner Daniel Snyder “may have engaged in a troubling, long-running, and potentially unlawful pattern of financial conduct” that took advantage of the team’s fans.

Two main allegations are at the core of the dispute: that Washington illegally withheld refundable security deposits from ticket holders, and that executives kept two sets of books to hide revenue from the NFL in order to share less in the league’s revenue-sharing pool.

“I can state unequivocally that I never helped maintain, or saw anyone else maintain, a ‘second set’ of books,” former director of finance Paul Szczenski said in a signed affidavit.

The discovery of potential financial impropriety came amid the committee’s investigation into sexual harassment within Washington’s workplace. The committee began to look at the financials after combing through 80,000 pages of documents and witness interviews regarding sexual harassment, The Washington Post reported on March 31.

The committee indicated that Snyder withheld as much as $5 million in refundable deposits from season ticket holders.

The Commanders rebutted Friedman’s claim that he and former executive Stephen Choi discussed a Snyder-orchestrated scheme in 2014 to allocate some NFL ticket revenue in their books to a college football game held at FedEx Field. The NFL would not be eligible to receive shares of revenue generated from non-NFL events like other sports or concerts.

“What the Committee did not know (because it never asked) is that after Mr. Choi received Friedman’s May 6, 2014 email, he forwarded it to his team of accounting professionals (dropping Friedman, who was not an accountant, from the chain) and the accounting professionals subsequently confirmed that the Navy-Notre Dame license fee had been properly placed in an account known as ’14RedRev’ — that is, 2014 Redskins Revenue,” the Commanders’ outside counsel wrote to the FTC.

The team also said in its letter that Friedman was fired in 2020 for “engaging in intimidating and abusive behavior” and called his character and motives into question. At the time of his firing, Friedman was Washington’s vice president of sales and customer service in the ticket department and had worked for the team for 24 years.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2020; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder speaks during the introductory press conference for head coach Ron Rivera at Inova Sports Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

House committee: Daniel Snyder, execs hid revenue from NFL

A congressional committee sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday to share evidence showing that Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder withheld refundable deposits from ticket holders and hid revenue from the NFL.

The allegations were laid out in a 20-page letter sent by the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform and obtained by The Washington Post.

“Evidence obtained by the Committee … indicate senior executives and the team’s owner, Daniel Snyder, may have engaged in a troubling, long-running, and potentially unlawful pattern of financial conduct that victimized thousands of team fans and the National Football League (NFL),” the letter began.

The discovery of potential financial impropriety came amid the committee’s investigation into sexual harassment within Washington’s workplace. The committee began to look at the financials after combing through 80,000 pages of documents and witness interviews regarding sexual harassment, the Washington Post reported earlier this month.

The financial allegations center on the testimony of Jason Friedman, who worked for the franchise for 24 years.

Friedman told the committee that the team kept “two sets of books” to underreport ticket revenue to the NFL. Revenues from Commanders games would instead be shown as derived from non-NFL events, like college football games or concerts. Those monies were called “juice” – extra money for the team and kept hidden so as to not be subject to the NFL’s revenue-sharing pool, per the letter.

The committee also indicated that Snyder withheld as much as $5 million in refundable deposits from season ticket holders.

Friedman “provided the Committee with information and documents indicating that the Commanders routinely withheld security deposits that should have been returned to customers who had purchased multiyear season tickets for specific seats, referred to as seat leases,” according to the letter. “… team executives directed employees to establish roadblocks to prevent customers from obtaining the security deposits they were due — effectively allowing the team to retain that money.”

The committee interviewed Friedman on March 14.

“Given the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) authority to investigate unfair or deceptive business practices, we are providing the information and documents uncovered by the Committee for your review, to determine if the Commanders violated any provision of law enforced by FTC and whether further action is warranted,” the committee’s letter says. “We request that you take any other action you deem necessary to ensure that all funds are returned to their rightful owners and that those responsible are held accountable for their conduct.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2020; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder speaks during the introductory press conference for head coach Ron Rivera at Inova Sports Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Commanders launch investigation into sexual harassment allegations

The Washington Commanders have hired a high-powered legal team to investigate allegations of sexual harassment made last week by a former team employee against owner Daniel Snyder.

In a news release Wednesday, the Commanders said a group led by Debra Wong Yang, a prominent attorney who is a former California state judge, U.S. attorney and Los Angeles police commissioner, will lead the investigation.

The group is tasked with looking into sexual harassment allegations made last week before Congress by Tiffani Johnston, a former cheerleader and marketing manager for the team. She said that at a team dinner, Snyder reached under the table and put his hand on her thigh and later put his hand on her lower back to try to push her toward his limousine.

“The Team is committed to a thorough and independent investigation of Ms. Johnston’s allegation, and pledges full cooperation with the investigation,” the Commanders said in a news release.

Other members of the investigative team include former U.S. attorneys Bonnie Jonas and Tiffany Moller of the Pallas Global Group LLC.

Johnston was one of six former team employees who shared experiences during a roundtable discussion with the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which is looking into reports that Snyder ran a workplace with a “toxic” culture.

Snyder has denied the allegations against him but issued a statement last week acknowledging past “misconduct” within the organization.

“While past conduct at the Team was unacceptable, the allegations leveled against me personally in today’s roundtable — many of which are well over 13 years old — are outright lies,” Snyder said in a statement following the Feb. 3 testimony. “I unequivocally deny having participated in any such conduct, at any time and with respect to any person.”

The team said findings of the investigation will be released to the public but gave no timeline.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2020; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and his wife Tanya look on as head coach Ron Rivera speaks during his introductory press conference at Inova Sports Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Snyder denies new allegations by ex-staffer

Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder issued a denial Thursday after a new round of allegations about workplace misconduct within the organization directly implicated him.

During a congressional hearing Thursday, former cheerleader and marketing manager Tiffani Johnston accused Snyder of inappropriate behavior. Johnston said Snyder placed his hand on “the middle of my thigh until I physically removed it” one time and pushing her toward his limousine another.

Johnston and five other former Washington staffers disclosed the accusations at a House Committee on Oversight and Reform roundtable.

Snyder issued a statement later Thursday denying the direct implication.

“While past conduct at the Team was unacceptable, the allegations leveled against me personally in today’s roundtable — many of which are well over 13 years old — are outright lies,” Snyder said. “I unequivocally deny having participated in any such conduct, at any time and with respect to any person. Tanya (Snyder) and I will not be distracted by those with a contrary agenda from continuing with the positive personnel and cultural changes that have been made at the Team over the past 18 months, and those that we continue to make both on and off the field.”

Johnston said the limo incident with Snyder took place with one of his attorneys also present.

“The only reason Dan Snyder removed his hand from my back and stopped pushing me towards his limo was because his attorney intervened and said, ‘Dan, Dan, this is a bad idea.’ … I learned that I should remove myself from Dan’s grip while his attorney was distracting him,” Johnston said.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, (D-N.Y.), and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, (D-Ill.) hosted the roundtable and were joined by former team staffers Emily Applegate, Brad Baker, Melanie Coburn, Rachel Engleson and Ana Nunez in addition to Johnston.

The committee continues to pressure the NFL to release its full report regarding misconduct within the organization. While the league finished its investigation seven months ago resulting in a $10 million fine for Snyder, it has declined to release a report.

Snyder was also forced to temporarily cede day-to-day operations to his wife Tanya, co-CEO of the team.

“When the investigation of the air pressure of Tom Brady’s football concludes with a 200-plus-page report, but the investigation into two decades of sexual harassment concludes with nothing, it shows the NFL’s complete lack of respect towards women, their employees and for the culture of our country,” said Applegate, a former marketing coordinator.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2020; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and his wife Tanya look on as head coach Ron Rivera speaks during his introductory press conference at Inova Sports Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Tanya Snyder named co-CEO of Washington Football Team

The Washington Football Team named Tanya Snyder as co-chief executive officer of the franchise on Tuesday.

Snyder will hold that title along with her husband Dan Snyder. They are also co-owners of the franchise.

She joins Amy Trask (Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders) and Kim Pegula (Buffalo Bills) among the female chief executives in NFL history.

Amy Adams Strunk assumed the role of controlling owner of the Tennessee Titans in March 2015 and serves as the co-chairman of the franchise’s board of directors.

“This team is our family’s legacy,” Tanya Snyder said in a statement. “We are at a pivotal point in the history of this team as we work to become the gold standard of NFL franchises. The co-CEO titles reflect our approach to that effort. It is a natural progression, but it’s important to formally recognize the diversity of opinion and perspective that informs everything we do. In my new role, I’ll be positioned to ensure the core values that are central to our philanthropy permeate the entire organization and bring us closer to realizing our goals.”

Tanya Snyder has headed the team’s philanthropic efforts since the couple purchased the team for $800 million in 1999. The franchise is now worth $3.5 billion and brings in roughly $500 million in annual revenue, according to Forbes.

She has led the Washington Football Charitable Foundation since 2000 and founded the “Women of Washington” fan club in 2011. A breast cancer survivor, Tanya Snyder also helped introduce the NFL’s “Think Pink” campaign in 1999.

“Tanya is one of the most important figures in this organization, and that has only become more true over the last 18 months as her involvement has deepened,” Dan Snyder said in a statement. “Publicly, many know Tanya for her incredible and impactful work in breast cancer awareness and her leadership of our charitable foundation. But behind the scenes, she has had a profound impact on the direction of the Washington Football Team. She was instrumental in our decision to evolve the brand and modernize our fan experience — including the entertainment team.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 15, 2019; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder looks over the field before a game against the Dallas Cowboys at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

NFL to oversee investigation into Washington Football Team

The NFL will now oversee the investigation into the Washington Football Team, with the organization saying Monday the change was at its own suggestion.

Acclaimed D.C. attorney Beth Wilkinson is investigating sexual-harassment allegations against the team. Wilkinson was hired by the club at the suggestion of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after a story by the Washington Post included multiple sexual-harassment claims.

According to ESPN, Goodell informed Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder of the NFL’s plans to oversee the process, with Snyder saying he had a part in the change.

“Recently, The Washington Football Team launched an independent third-party investigation into allegations about our culture and incidents of harassment,” Snyder said in a release. “In conversations with Commissioner Goodell, (it was) suggested that the NFL assume full oversight of the investigation so that the results are thorough, complete and trusted by the fans, the players, our employees and the public.

“I appreciate Commissioner Goodell agreeing to our suggestion and the entire Washington Football Team remains committed to fully cooperating with all aspects of the investigation.”

The Washington Post talked to 40 women who were former employees of the team about the treatment of women.

A new story by the newspaper last week indicated that a video, which included partially nude team cheerleaders, was created for Snyder after a 2008 swimsuit photograph shoot. Snyder said he never saw such a video and did not request that one be made.

–Field Level Media

Sep 15, 2019; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder looks over the field before a game against the Dallas Cowboys at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Snyder under pressure from minority owners

Controversy continues to envelop the Washington Football Team, with a Wall Street Journal report indicating Friday that minority ownership partners are trying to pressure majority owner Daniel Snyder to sell his stake in the club.

There have been no indications that Snyder is even remotely interested in ending his 21-year tenure as the football team’s owner.

A total of 40 percent of the team is owned by minority partners Fred Smith, Robert Rothman and Dwight Schar. The WSJ report indicated that the three owners have hired an investment firm to sell their portions of the longtime NFL franchise.

The team, and the minority shares, though, would be worth much more if they were sold together. Potential buyers have walked away, according to the report, over Snyder’s reluctance to part with his stake in the franchise.

The Washington Football Team has been in turmoil off the field. Not only did the franchise remove its controversial nickname following sponsor threats, the organization is also conducting an internal investigation into sexual harassment and verbal abuse claims by female employees.

Now comes word of a lawsuit filed by Snyder this week claiming “a defamatory and false story” was revealed about him by a current team investor, according to an NBC Sports report.

Snyder purchased the team for a reported $800 million from the estate of former owner Jack Kent Cooke in 1999. Last year, Forbes estimated the value of the team at $3.4 billion, seventh highest in the NFL.

–Field Level Media