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Commanders accused of 'troubling' financial conduct: lawmakers
Commanders accused of 'troubling' financial conduct: lawmakers / Photo: © GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

Commanders accused of 'troubling' financial conduct: lawmakers

The Washington Commanders cheated fans out of millions of dollars in refund money and hid income from the NFL as part of a long-running pattern of financial misconduct, US lawmakers said Tuesday.

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The House Committee on Oversight and Reform said the financial malpractice had come to light as part of the inquiry into workplace culture at the scandal-hit club.

Lawmakers said they had uncovered evidence that the Commanders had victimized "thousands" of fans as well the NFL.

Emails, documents and statements from former employees showed the club had intentionally withheld millions of dollars in refundable deposits owed to fans and hid income that should have been paid to the NFL as part of revenue-sharing rules.

Evidence uncovered by the committee had been sent to the Federal Trade Commission, and marked another blow to the Commanders' beleaguered owner Dan Snyder.

"This new information on potential financial misconduct suggests that the rot under Dan Snyder's leadership is much deeper than imagined," said committee chairwoman Carolyn Maloney.

"It further reinforces the concern that this organization has been allowed to operate with impunity for far too long.

"This new information suggests that in addition to fostering a hostile workplace culture, Mr. Snyder also may have cheated the team's fans and the NFL.

"While the focus of our investigation remains the Commanders' toxic work environment, I hope the FTC will review this troubling financial conduct and determine whether further action is necessary. We must have accountability."

The committee said it had been provided with the information after conducting an interview with former Commanders sales executive Jason Friedman last month.

"During his interview, Mr Friedman described a pattern of deeply concerning business practices that were directed by senior leadership, including Mr. Snyder," the committee said in a statement.

Lawmakers had been provided with information and documents which supported Friedman's claims.

The Commanders maintained two sets of accounting books to facilitate the malpractice -- one that was shared with the NFL that under-reported certain ticket revenues, and another which contained the accurate revenue numbers.

The allegations are the latest in a long line of controversies to rock the Commanders and owner Snyder.

In February, a former team employee said she was sexually harassed by Snyder -- allegations the team owner described as "outright lies".

Washington changed their name to the Commanders in February after dropping their previous racially-charged moniker -- the "Redskins" -- in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd and global anti-racism protests.