District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine has filed another lawsuit against the Washington Commanders and owner Dan Snyder, claiming this time that the franchise implemented an illegal scheme to “cheat District ticket holders out of their deposits for season tickets,” an official statement read.
Racine announced his initial lawsuit against the Commanders, Snyder, the NFL and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for purposely misleading consumers amid allegations of sexual misconduct and a toxic work environment in order for fans to “continue to support the Team financially without thinking that they were supporting such misconduct,” the complaint filed by the D.C. Attorney General’s Office alleged.
Now, Racine is solely going after the Commanders and Snyder with this lawsuit.
“Today’s announcement follows our recent lawsuit against the Commanders, Dan Snyder, NFL, and Roger Goodell, and is yet another example of egregious mismanagement and illegal conduct by Commanders executives who seem determined to lie, cheat, and steal from District residents in as many ways as possible,” said Racine. “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.”
That statement goes on to claim that the Commanders used season ticket holders’ money for “its own purposes,” and since 1996, they didn’t pay back deposits on time. Instead, they would hold on to the money and use it elsewhere.
“The Commanders promised these ticket holders that they would automatically get the deposits within 30 days of the contracts’ expiration, but in fact, the team held on to these funds-sometimes for over a decade-and used the money for its own purposes,” the statement read. “When ticket holders requested that their deposits be returned, the Commanders intentionally complicated the return process by imposing extra, burdensome conditions that were not previously adequately disclosed. A Commanders’ employee even alerted the teams’ corporate officers in 2009 that these practices violated the contracts’ terms, but the team continued to impose these additional obligations on consumers. As a result of these deceptive practices, the team illegally withheld hundreds of thousands of dollars from District residents.”
While some deposits have been returned, the Commanders allegedly still owe season ticket holders nearly $200,000 in unreturned security deposits.
In turn, the D.C. Attorney General’s Office is seeking a “Court order to force the Commanders to stop these illegal practices and pay District ticket holders back what they are owed” as well as “Financial penalties for violations of the CPPA.”
“The Team has not accepted security deposits for over 20 years in the case of premium tickets and over a decade in the case of suites, and we began returning them to season ticket holders as early as 2004,” a spokesperson for the Commanders told Fox News Digital. “In 2014, as part of a comprehensive review, Team management was instructed to send notices to over 1,400 customers with deposits and return all security deposits requested.”
“Further, the team engaged an outside law firm and forensic auditors to conduct an extensive review of the team’s accounts which found no evidence that the team intentionally withheld security deposits that should have been returned to customers or that the team improperly converted any unclaimed deposits to revenue.”
The attorney general’s office is the first authority to take action against the Commanders following the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s investigation in April 2022 that led to a $10 million fine. The investigation was taken over by the NFL, but the initial lawsuit claimed that the league did that to ensure its credibility but “actively worked to thwart the investigation and suppress its results.”
“Days after assuming control of the investigation to ensure it was independent of the Team, the League entered into an agreement with the Team that guaranteed Snyder the authority to block the public release of any information coming out of the investigation,” the AG said.
The Commanders add yet another off-the-field distraction even after they pulled off the biggest upset of the NFL season thus far on Monday by defeating the Philadelphia Eagles for their first loss of 2022.
Cornerback Brandon St-Juste recently told a French-language paper that there is a “dark cloud” over the organization that he wants changed.
“Every time there is something good happening on the pitch, something bad is happening off it,” he told Le Journal de Quebec – he is from Montreal – as translated by 106.7 The Fan. “It would give us great energy to have a fresh start and regain the confidence of the fans.”
Because of these off-field situations, St-Juste and his teammates have had to see fans in the stands wearing paper bags that read “Sell The Team.”
That is just some of the pressure facing Snyder to sell the team, with Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay saying that he believed “merit” was found to seriously consider voting Snyder out.
Congress began investigating the team in October 2021, when allegations of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct arose after then-Raiders head coach Jon Gruden stepped down following the leak of emails with then-Washington team president Bruce Allen.
The lawmakers’ investigation found that Snyder played a significant role in fostering a toxic work environment and pointed to evidence that suggested Snyder impeded the NFL’s independent probe into those allegations. While Snyder refused to testify, Goodell did before the U.S. House Oversight Committee.
Snyder took the first steps to potentially selling his franchise, hiring Bank of America Securities to look into a potential sale. Since then, rumors began that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and rap mogul Jay-Z may team could up to purchase the team in a deal that’s expected to be more than the $4.65 billion the Denver Broncos sold for in June.