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Commanders deny financial misconduct allegations, lawyer says team can rebut claims

SportCommanders deny financial misconduct allegations, lawyer says team can rebut claims


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The Washington Commanders denied allegations of financial impropriety in a letter sent to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Monday.

Last week, the U.S. House Oversight Committee wrote in a letter to the FTC claiming that the Commanders may have engaged in potentially unlawful financial conduct for more than 10 years. The team was accused of withholding ticket revenue from visiting teams and refundable deposits from fans. In a 20-page letter obtained by Fox News Digital, congressional leaders said they appeared to have uncovered information indicating that the organization, including team owner Daniel Snyder, may have been involved in “troubling” financial misconduct and withheld millions from the NFL.

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A detailed view of the new Washington Commanders uniforms following the announcement of the Washington Football Team's name change to the Washington Commanders at FedExField on Feb. 2, 2022 in Landover, Maryland. 

A detailed view of the new Washington Commanders uniforms following the announcement of the Washington Football Team’s name change to the Washington Commanders at FedExField on Feb. 2, 2022 in Landover, Maryland. 
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

On Monday, the Commanders dismissed the allegations in their 19-page response. The letter included testimony, emails and other documents. The letter, signed by Jordan W. Siev from the law firm Reed Smith, denies all of those allegations. Siev wrote that the committee never requested information about the allegations made and that no financial investigation was warranted.

“The committee did not request a single document from the team; the committee did not invite a single representative of the team to address the truth of the matters contained in the committee’s letter; and the committee did not pose questions to the team to answer in writing about its allegations, or provide any mechanism whatsoever for the team to address the truth of the allegations,” the letter read. “Had the committee posed any of these questions or requests to the team, the team could — and would — easily and fully have rebutted each allegation.”

The letter also takes aim at the motives and character of the former VP of sales and customer service Jason Friedman. His testimony against the organization kickstarted the congressional lawmakers’ letter to the FTC over the fiduciary allegations.

COMMANDERS HELD BACK REVENUE OWED TO VISITING TEAMS: REPORT

The helmet of Washington Commanders NFL football team new quarterback Carson Wentz sits on a table during a news conference in Ashburn, Virginia, Thursday, March 17, 2022.

The helmet of Washington Commanders NFL football team new quarterback Carson Wentz sits on a table during a news conference in Ashburn, Virginia, Thursday, March 17, 2022.
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Congress had already started an investigation into the organization’s workplace culture. The NFL didn’t release a report detailing the findings of the investigation into the matter. Snyder and the team were fined $10 million, but no other disciplinary steps were taken.

Friedman’s attorney, Lisa Banks, said in a statement her client “testified truthfully, with evidence.”

The lawmakers, in last week’s letter to the FTC, cited testimony from Friedman, who claimed the team had kept two separate financial books — one with the underreported ticket revenue that went to the NFL and another with the full picture. The employee said Snyder was aware of the situation.

Washington’s former director of finance, Paul Szczenski, denied the allegations in their response letter.

“I can state unequivocally that I never helped maintain, or saw anyone else maintain, a ‘second set’ of books,” the letter read.

Dan and Tanya Snyder, co-owner and co-CEOs of the Washington Commanders, pose for photos after unveiling their NFL football team's new identity, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, in Landover, Md.

Dan and Tanya Snyder, co-owner and co-CEOs of the Washington Commanders, pose for photos after unveiling their NFL football team’s new identity, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, in Landover, Md.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

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Washington said in a statement to the Associated Press on April 4 there was “absolutely no withholding of ticket revenue at any time” and pointed to audits by multiple parties, adding that “anyone who offered testimony suggesting a withholding of revenue has committed perjury, plain and simple.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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