Team co-owners Dan and Tanya Snyder pose for a photo with current team members and alumni during the announcement of the Washington Football Team’s renaming to Washington Commanders at FedExField on Feb. 02 2022 in Landover, Maryland.
Rob Carr | Getty Images
The Washington, D.C. attorney general on Thursday sued commanders and owner Dan Snyder, along with NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell, for allegedly misleading DC residents about the team’s alleged toxic culture for its own financial gain.
Attorney General Karl Racine alleges that the team and its owner lied to DC residents about allegations regarding the team’s toxic culture and sexual harassment, in order to hide the truth from DC residents and protect the profits.
Racine said Thursday that the NFL and Goodell worked with Snyder and the commanders to mislead the public about an investigation into the allegations and the toxic culture the organization has nurtured over the years.
“Commanders and the NFL secretly reached an agreement on the investigation that the public was unaware of,” Racine said, pointing to evidence collected by his office.
Synder, owner of the team since 1999, and the commanders have been the subject of recent investigations by the House Oversight Committee and the NFL for sexual harassment and financial misconduct.
“Over two years ago, Dan and Tanya Snyder acknowledged that an unacceptable work culture had existed within their organization for several years and they repeatedly apologized for allowing this to happen,” said a spokesperson for the commanders in a statement. “We agree with AG Racine on one thing: the public needs to know the truth. Although the lawsuit repeats many innuendos, half-truths and lies, we welcome this opportunity to defend the organization – for the first time – in court. of law and to establish, once and for all, what is fact and what is fiction. »
The NFL did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“We are taking this matter as a civil matter in court with a fair process for the defendants so that the public can have a sense of responsibility,” Racine said Thursday.
As for the monetary penalties Commanders, Snyder, NFL and Goodell could face, Racine also noted that under consumer protection law, each violation carries a maximum fine of $5,000. and that it “adds up quite easily and exponentially”, potentially amounting to millions. dollars in penalties.
The attorney general is also seeking a court order that would release the findings of the 10-month investigation into the work culture of commanders.
The NFL review is led by former Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Jo White. The league said White is still in the middle of his review. On Thursday, Racine said he didn’t know the status of White’s investigation.
The investigation into the alleged financial irregularities triggered various other investigations.
Commanders and Snyder have previously denied the misconduct allegations.
Shortly after the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, the Virginia Attorney General and Racine also opened investigations into the team.
ESPN reported last week that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia has opened a criminal investigation into allegations of financial misconduct against the commanders.
Snyder recently put the team up for sale, bringing on Bank of America to help facilitate the potential deal, CNBC previously reported. The deal could value the commanders up to $7 billion. The NFL said any deal would have to go through its finance committee and would have to get approval from 24 of the NFL’s 32 teams.
Amazon founder and multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos and rapper and music industry giant Jay-Z are said to be interested in bidding on the team.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.