The Washington Commanders have almost certainly set an NFL record by being sued by the Washington, D.C. attorney general for the second time in seven days. AG Karl A. Racine announced on Thursday that his office is suing the Commanders for allegedly enacting a scheme to cheat DC season ticket holders out of their deposits.
Today, we are filing a new lawsuit against the Commanders—this time for cheating District season ticket holders out of their deposits.
Commanders executives seem determined to lie, cheat, and steal from DC residents in as many ways as possible. We’re holding them accountable.
— AG Karl A. Racine (@AGKarlRacine) November 17, 2022
From Racine's statement: “The Commanders’ arrogance and blatant disregard for the law is a slap in the face to District residents who have supported the team for decades. We deserve better, and today my office is taking action yet again to hold them accountable.”
— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) November 17, 2022
The allegations about this scheme first came to light when Congress was investigating the Commanders for workplace misconduct. Jason Friedman, the Commanders' former VP of sales and customer service for 24 years, testified in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform about the scheme in March, and turned over numerous spreadsheets and other documents. The committee wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission just one month later, accusing them of hiding revenue from the NFL for over a decade by withholding security deposits that should have been refunded to season ticket-holders.
How the investigation began
That investigation into the Commanders' workplace misconduct is actually what the first lawsuit is about. One week ago, the D.C. AG announced that they are suing the Commanders, team owner Dan Snyder, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and the NFL for "colluding to deceive fans" by allegedly covering up all the workplace and sexual misconduct allegations against the team.
The news of that came out in 2020, when over 40 women, including former employees and cheerleaders, came forward to accuse Snyder and Commanders executives of serious sexual misconduct. Snyder himself first hired an outside attorney to investigate, but that was soon taken over by Goodell and the NFL. The investigation determined that the Commanders fostered a hostile work environment for years, one that especially and particularly affected women, which commonly included bullying, intimidation, and sexual harassment up through the top ranks of the organization.
However, no written report was ever released. While Goodell has claimed that's necessary to maintain the anonymity of the accusers and victims who came forward to speak with the attorney leading the investigation, those who did come forward to speak have said they no longer desire anonymity and want the report to be released. Goodell has continued to decline, which is how the congressional investigation got started.
Nothing has really stuck to Snyder so far, but with the D.C. AG attempting to bring the force of law down on Snyder and the Commanders through two different lawsuits, maybe that will change.