Commanders deny alleged financial impropriety raised in Washington Post report

Commanders deny alleged financial impropriety raised in report originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

 

The Commanders have denied a Washington Post report that the House Committee on Oversight and Reform is investigating allegations of financial improprieties by the team.

The Post cited multiple sources familiar with the matter when reporting on the Oversight Committee’s financial investigation. Those allegations stem from the ongoing congressional investigation into widespread sexual harassment and a “toxic” workplace environment for female employees under Daniel M. Snyder’s ownership. The Oversight Committee’s inquiry also includes the NFL’s handling of the matter.

“The team is not aware of any investigation by the House Oversight Committee regarding financial matters, despite vague and unsubstantiated claims today by anonymous sources,” a Commanders spokesman said in a statement provided to NBC Sports Washington. “The team categorically denies any suggestion of financial impropriety of any kind at any time. We adhere to strict internal processes that are consistent with industry and accounting standards, are audited annually by a globally respected independent auditing firm, and are also subject to regular audits by the NFL. We continue to cooperate fully with the Committee’s work.”

The Post reported some members of the 45-person Oversight Committee itself were either unaware of the financial aspect of the investigation or lacked specific details.

When asked by NBC Sports Washington if the workplace investigation now includes a financial component, a spokesman for the Oversight Committee responded with a statement that read:

“The Committee continues to investigate the hostile workplace and culture of impunity at the Washington Commanders as well as the National Football League’s inadequate response and lack of transparency. The Committee will follow the facts wherever they lead.”

The Oversight Committee’s investigation of the Commanders began in October. The NFL faced scrutiny for not publicizing a full report from attorney Beth Wilkinson after she spent 10 months investigating Washington’s workplace culture under Snyder. But the conclusions were provided to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell verbally and no written report was released.

The NFL fined the Commanders $10 million last July. Dan Snyder was not suspended, though he was instructed to remove himself from the organization’s day-to-day operations and his wife, Tanya Snyder, became co-CEO and represents the team at league meetings. As recently as Tuesday, Goodell insisted that Dan Snyder would not return to day-to-day operations with the Commanders in the ‘foreseeable future.’

On Feb. 3 the Oversight Committee held a roundtable with six former team employees who demanded that the league release Wilkinson’s investigation in full. Many allegations of harassment and misconduct had been detailed in stories by the Post in 2020 and 2021, but a new one surfaced during that roundtable discussion levied directly at Snyder by a former employee.

The NFL hired attorney Mary Jo White, the former chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to investigate the newer allegations on Feb. 18. Her work is ongoing and the NFL insists her findings will be made public.

The Commanders dropped their own internal investigation into the public accusation made during the Feb. 3 roundtable by ex-Washington Football employee Tiffani Johnston. She claimed Snyder made unwanted sexual advances toward her at an unspecified work dinner when he placed his hand on her thigh under a table. Johnston said she proceeded to remove Snyder’s hand from her thigh.

Johnston, a one-time team cheerleader and later a marketing and events coordinator for the organization, told the committee that later the same evening Snyder attempted to coax her into his waiting limousine before being dissuaded by a colleague who called it “a very bad idea.”

Snyder called Johnston’s allegations “outright lies” in a statement released by his attorney on Feb. 3.

Jason Friedman, who worked for Washington as vice president of sales and customer service for more than 20 years, submitted a letter to the Oversight Committee that corroborated Johnston’s account, according to Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., the committee chairwoman.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.

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