Commanders may have concocted ‘scheme to cheat fans and the NFL,’ lawmakers tell FTC

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The Washington Commanders may have engaged in potentially unlawful financial conduct for more than 10 years by withholding ticket revenue from visiting teams and refundable deposits from fans, the U.S. House Oversight Committee said in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday.

In a 20-page letter obtained by Fox News Digitalcongressional leaders said they appeared to have uncovered information indicating that the organization, including team owner Daniel Snyder, may have been involved in “troubling” financial misconduct and withheld millions from the NFL.

COMMANDERS HELD BACK REVENUE OWED TO VISITING TEAMS: REPORT

Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) speaks at a hearing with the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in the Rayburn House Office Building on Nov. 16, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) speaks at a hearing with the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in the Rayburn House Office Building on Nov. 16, 2021 in Washington, DC.
(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“This new information on potential financial misconduct suggests that the rot under Dan Snyder’s leadership is much deeper than imagined. It further reinforces the concern that this organization has been allowed to operate with impunity for far too long,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., in a statement.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., added: “The fact that the Committee, while investigating evidence of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct, also uncovered evidence of what appears to be a scheme to cheat fans and the NFL tells you all you need to know about Dan Snyder and how he is running this organization. The question is what other potential wrongdoings are the Commanders engaging in, and what is the extent of the dysfunction atop their leadership? The Committee will continue to push for transparency and accountability from the team and the League to protect all employees in the workplace, and I urge the FTC to investigate the evidence provided by the Committee of the Commanders’ long-running financial schemes.”

The lawmakers cited testimony from a former employee who claimed the team had kept two separate financial books — one with the underreported ticket revenue that went to the NFL and another with the full picture. The employee said Snyder was aware of the situation.

This Oct. 21, 2018 photo shows a general view of FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.
(AP Photo/Mark Tenally)

Ticket revenue is shared with all 32 clubs in the league, with 40% of it deposited in a visiting team fund, according to the Associated Press.

Congressional lawmakers have been investigating Washington over allegations of workplace misconduct after the league didn’t disclose a report detailing the findings of an independent probe into the matter. The investigation expanded after testimony from former employees.

Lisa Banks and Deborah Katz, who represent more than 40 former Washington employees, released a statement on the lawmakers’ letter.

“The Committee’s letter to the FTC, the state attorneys general, and the NFL about the Washington Commanders’ fraudulent financial practices is damning,” their statement read. “It’s clear that the team’s misconduct goes well beyond the sexual harassment and abuse of employees already documented and has also impacted the bottom line of the NFL, other NFL owners, and the team’s fans. We are proud of our many clients who have come forward at great personal risk to reveal the truth and bring us closer to total transparency about the full extent of the dysfunction at the Washington Commanders.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy gave a statement to Fox News Digital later Tuesday.

“We continue to cooperate with the Oversight Committee and have provided more than 210,000 pages of documents,” McCarthy said, referring to the overall number since lawmakers started their investigation. “The NFL has engaged former SEC chair Mary Jo White to review the serious matters raised by the committee.”

The helmet of Washington Commanders NFL football team new quarterback Carson Wentz sits on a table during a news conference in Ashburn, Virginia, Thursday, March 17, 2022.

The helmet of Washington Commanders NFL football team new quarterback Carson Wentz sits on a table during a news conference in Ashburn, Virginia, Thursday, March 17, 2022.
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Washington released a statement on allegations of financial misconduct on March 31.

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“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,” a team spokesperson said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.