Daniel Snyder, Commanders to face action from DC attorney general

Comment

NEW YORK — The office of DC Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) has nearly completed its investigation of the Washington Commanders and their owner, Daniel Snyder, and is planning to take further action in the case, according to a person familiar with the investigation

Racine and his team “are moving full steam ahead,” according to that person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, adding: “Dan Snyder, the Commanders, and the NFL will soon face accountability for their actions. … Snyder will no longer be able to dodge subpoenas or avoid testing or answering questions.”

Racine declined to comment through his office.

Attorney Lisa Banks, who represents more than 40 former Commanders employees, said Monday: “Many of my clients participated in this investigation, which appeared to be wide-ranging and thorough. We eagerly await next steps from the DC Attorney General — hopefully he will succeed where the NFL has failed in ensuring accountability for two decades of sexual misconduct.”

NFL owners’ attitudes harden toward Commanders’ Daniel Snyder

The development arrives as NFL team owners are scheduled to hold a meeting Tuesday in New York amid the ongoing controversy involving Snyder.

It is not clear what actions are being contemplated by Racine’s office, which includes more than 700 attorneys and staff members and is responsible for enforcing DC law through criminal and civil means.

“The team’s lawyers have met with counsel at the Attorney General’s office on multiple occasions, and no one from that office has ever indicated that the office is planning to take any action against the team or Dan Snyder,” a team spokesperson said in a statement monday night. “The Commanders organization has cooperated fully with the investigation, including by producing over a hundred thousand documents, because it has nothing to hide. The anonymous leaks are unconscionable, and DC Attorney General Racine should confirm that the leaks did n’t come from any member of his office or anyone affiliated with his office. ”

Racine’s office has been investigating Snyder and his franchise since the fall of 2021 following familiar of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct, according to the person with the probe. The investigation also has dealt with the circumstances surrounding the NFL’s handling of the against Snyder and the Commanders and more recently has included the team’s ticket sales practices, according to that person. Racine’s office has reviewed tens of thousands of documents produced by the Commanders and the NFL and has interviewed witnesses that include former cheerleaders and team executives, according to that person.

Racine became the District’s first elected attorney general in 2015; he announced last year that he would not seek a third term. With Racine’s endorsement, DC attorney Brian Schwalb won a three-way race in June for the Democratic nomination for the office.

The office first disclosed its investigation of the Commanders and Snyder in April, soon after letter of financial impropriety by the Commanders and Snyder were detailed in a from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform to the Federal Trade Commission. That same day, Jason S. Miyares, Virginia’s Republican general, told attorneys for the team and Snyder that his office would investigate the financial impropriety outlined by the committee’s letter. The team has denied committing any financial wrongdoing.

Snyder and the team also are being investigated separately by the congressional committee and the NFL. Tom Davis, an attorney for Snyder and a former chairman of the committee, wrote this month in a letter to Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (DN.Y.), the committee’s chairwoman, that the panel’s Democratic-led investigation has been “a politically inspired hatchet job” designed to remove Snyder from the NFL.

Former Washington Commanders team employee Tiffani Johnston tested on Feb. 3 that team owner Dan Snyder harassed her at a team dinner. (Video: The Washington Post)

The league’s second investigation of the Commanders, this one led by attorney Mary Jo White, was launched after Tiffani Johnston, a former cheerleader and marketing manager for the team, said at a congressional roundtable in February that Snyder harassed her at a team dinner, putting his hand on her thigh and pressing her toward his limo. Snyder denied the accusations, calling them “outright lies.”

In June, The Washington Post reported details of a former employee’s claim that Snyder sexually assaulted her during a flight on his private plane in April 2009. Later that year, the team agreed to pay the employee, whom it fired, $1.6 million in a confidential settlement In a 2020 court filing, Snyder called the woman’s claims “meritless.”

No formal discussion of Snyder or the Commanders is on the agenda for Tuesday’s quarterly owners meeting, according to multiple people familiar with the agenda, and the owners are not expected to take any official action regarding Snyder with White’s investigation still pending. The committee also could issue a final report on its investigation in the coming weeks.

But the owners could have an impromptu discussion about Snyder during their privileged session at the end of Tuesday’s meeting, when other team executives are not present. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is likely to be questioned about the situation during the news conference that he typically holds at the conclusion of any league meeting.

Tanya Snyder, Daniel’s wife and the franchise’s co-CEO, and team president Jason Wright are expected to represent the Commanders at the meeting.

Multiple NFL owners told The Post last month that they believe serious consideration may be given to attempting to oust Snyder from the league’s ownership ranks, either by convincing him to sell the franchise or by voting to remove him. “He needs to sell,” one of those owners said. “Some of us need to go to him and tell him that he needs to sell.”

If Snyder could not be persuaded to do so willingly, NFL rules would require a vote of at least 24 of the 32 owners to force him to sell.

“I think there will be a movement,” the same owner said last month. “We need to get 24 votes.”

Lawyer for Daniel Snyder fires back at House oversight committee probe

Any move toward taking such a vote could be months off. In the meantime, it is unclear what Snyder’s ownership status is. His attorneys said last week that Snyder is “no longer under any NFL restriction” related to his involvement in the day-to-day operations of the franchise.

But Goodell and the league consistently have said Snyder’s status has not changed since the July 2021 announcement that the team was being fined $10 million, based on the findings of the previous investigation of its workplace conducted by attorney Beth Wilkinson, and that Tanya Snyder would oversee the franchise’s daily operations for an unspecified period. NFL officials have said Goodell will discuss Snyder’s status with him once White’s investigation is complete.

The owners could reach a resolution Tuesday on their dispute over how much each team must pay toward the NFL’s $790 million settlement reached last year with St. Louis stemming from the Rams’ relocation to Los Angeles in 2016.

Mask and Jhabvala reported from New York. Clarke reported from Washington.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.