Va. lawmaker working on Commanders bill now says it shouldn’t be a priority

There is fresh skepticism coming from Virginia’s General Assembly related to efforts to lure the Washington Commanders to the state as the team looks for a new stadium location.

A six-member committee, made up of three senators and three delegates, is working on legislation that would pave the way for a new stadium, but one of the committee members said he now has concerns about allegations the team is facing.

“Our job is to get to the bottom of any questions that could be lingering out there before moving forward,” said Democratic Del. Cliff Hayes.

Hayes was reacting to the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which said the Commanders engaged in potentially unlawful financial conduct. The committee found evidence of deceptive business practices over the span of more than a decade, including withholding ticket revenue from visiting teams and refundable deposits from fans.

“In light of the most recent allegations, I don’t think that dealing with this matter is something that should be at the top of our list of things to do,” Hayes said.

The team denied the allegations.

The Virginia committee that Hayes is a part of is tasked with reconciling differences between the state Senate and House of Delegates on legislation to create a stadium authority that would oversee financing and construction of a new stadium for the Commanders.

There are three potential sites for such a stadium — in Sterling, Woodbridge and Dumfries.

While the Commanders currently practice in Ashburn, Virginia, the team has played its games at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, since 1997.

The team’s lease in Landover ends in 2027. Political leaders in Maryland, Virginia and the District have all indicated that they’re interested in building a new home for the team.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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