Congress Says FTC Commanders May Have Violated Financial Laws


The US House Oversight Committee sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission saying it had found evidence that NFL commanders in Washington were engaging in illegal financial conduct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. House Oversight Committee has sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission saying it has found evidence that NFL Washington commanders engaged in potentially illegal financial conduct during more than a decade by withholding revenue from visiting team tickets and refundable fan deposits.

In the letter obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday, the committee described, through testimony from former employees and access to emails and documents, a pattern of financial irregularities by owner Dan Snyder and executives of the team. At one point in 2016, the committee said the team retained up to $5 million from 2,000 season ticket holders while hiding shareable revenue from the league.

A former employee testified before Congress saying the team had two separate financial books — one with underreported ticket revenue that went to the NFL — and a full, complete picture. Reportedly, Snyder was aware of the numbers shared with the league while being aware of the actual data.

The business practice was known as “juice” within the Washington front office. And, if correct, it could cause significant problems for Snyder and the commanders.

Ticket revenue is shared among the 32 NFL teams, with 40% deposited into a visiting team fund. This money is part of the pillars of the league’s revenue-sharing commitment.

A team spokeswoman said there was no further comment and referred to the March 31 statement: “The team categorically denies any suggestion of financial impropriety of any kind. at any time.”

“We adhere to strict internal processes that comply 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 work of the Committee.

The league did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

The committee is sharing documents with the FTC while asking the commission to take all necessary steps to ensure that the money is returned to its rightful owners.

Congress launched an investigation into the team’s workplace misconduct after the league failed to release a report detailing the findings of an independent investigation into the matter. After the testimony of former employees, this investigation extended to the finances of the organization.

Lawyers Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent more than 40 former employees, some of whom have testified, called the letter “damning”.

“It is clear that the team’s misconduct goes far beyond the sexual harassment and abuse of employees already documented and has also impacted the bottom line of the NFL, other NFL owners and fans. team,” they said in a statement. “We are proud of our many customers who have come forward at great personal risk to reveal the truth and move us closer to full transparency on the full extent of the Washington Commanders’ dysfunction.”


Associated Press reporter Farnoush Amiri contributed.


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