DC Attorney General Carl Racine on Thursday announced a lawsuit against Washington Commanders owner Don Snyder, the team and the NFL, alleging conspiracy to defraud DC residents. NFL investigation into team’s toxic workplace culture and allegations of sexual assault.
“The team and its owner over the years have caused very real and very serious harm and then lied about it to avoid accountability and continue to make a profit,” Racine said Thursday. “So far they seem to have gotten away with it, but it stops today.”
The lawsuit alleges that the deception was designed to keep fans in the dark and increase profits for the team. The lawsuit cites the District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Practices Act, which gives the attorney general broad authority to prosecute individuals or companies that mislead consumers.
Racine says the AG’s investigation began last fall and found that Snyder lied to DC residents about allegations of a hostile work environment and a culture of sexual harassment within the group.
“In fact, the evidence shows that Snyder was not only aware of the toxic culture at his company, he encouraged it and he participated in it,” Racine said. “Mr. Snyder exercised a great deal of personal control over everything the commanders did and his misconduct allowed others to treat the women in the same disrespectful manner.
The NFL and commanders launched what they announced was an independent investigation into the allegations, but secretly entered into a deal to give Snyder authority over what they could share with the public, the lawsuit alleges. At the same time, Snyder and crew tried to interfere and obstruct the investigation, the suit says.
Ultimately, the NFL issued a short press release summarizing the investigation’s findings, but the lawsuit says they did not receive the written investigation report due to confidentiality reasons.
“Is any part of this investigation independent? Does this sound like accountability? Rasin said. “Of course not. That’s why we have filed the case,” he said.
Racine is now seeking an unspecified financial penalty for each incident in which the parties lied to residents since July 2020. Fines could run into the millions of dollars, the attorney general said. The lawsuit also seeks a court order forcing the NFL to release all findings from a 10-month investigation into the commanders’ workplace culture.
Commanders Counsel John Brownlee and Stuart Nash released a joint statement in response to the lawsuit.
“Two years ago, Dan and Tanya Snyder acknowledged that their company had had an unacceptable workplace culture for years, and they have repeatedly apologized for allowing it to happen,” they said. “We agree with AG Racine on one thing: the public needs to know the truth. Although the case repeats many lies, half-truths and falsehoods, we welcome this opportunity to defend the company – for the first time – in a court of law and establish, once and for all, what is fact and what is fiction.”
NFL vice president of communications Brian McCarthy dismissed the allegations as baseless.
“An independent investigation into workplace misconduct at the Washington Commanders was conducted thoroughly and comprehensively by Beth Wilkinson and her law firm. Following the conclusion of the investigation, the NFL made public a summary of Ms. Wilkinson’s findings and imposed a record-setting penalty against the club and its franchise,” he said.
“We reject the legally baseless and baseless allegations made today by the DC Attorney General against the NFL and Commissioner Goodell, and will vigorously defend against those claims.”
This announcement is the latest issue of Commanders, The A newly branded team He was embroiled in several major investigations. Once one of the NFL’s premier franchises, the team has enjoyed limited success on the field and constant controversy off the field over the past two decades under Snyder.
Snyder announced last week that he was considering selling the team and that he and his wife were hiring Bank of America Securities to “consider potential transactions.”
Accusations From a Washington Post report In 2020, 15 female ex-Commanders staff members and two journalists who covered the team alleged sexual harassment and verbal abuse by team staff.
After an investigation by attorney Beth Wilkinson, the NFL fined the team $10 million, and Snyder handed over control of the franchise’s day-to-day operations to his wife, Tanya Snyder.
Nevertheless, the NFL refused to publicly release the investigation’s findings, prompting Congress to engage in a House Oversight Committee review. Commissioner Goodell testified before the committee in June that the commanders’ culture was “not only unprofessional, but toxic in the long run.”
Goodell said The committee did not receive a written statement from Wilkinson To protect the confidentiality of the participants in the internal investigation.
Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent more than 40 former Commanders employees, released a statement praising the lawsuit and calling on the NFL to open the Wilkinson investigation.
“Today’s civil complaint filed by the DC Attorney General against the Washington Commanders, Dan Snyder, the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell is further evidence of what we’ve known for a long time: Both the Commanders and the NFL have engineered deception and lies to cover up decades of sexual harassment and abuse by the team. That abuse affected not only the victims, but also consumers in the District of Columbia.
“The filing of this complaint represents an important step in validating the experiences of the brave women and men who came forward and, for the first time, achieving transparency into the scope of misconduct.
“For far too long, the NFL has actively covered up the wrongdoings of Washington commanders and shirked accountability at every turn. The NFL must understand that it cannot tolerate or cover up sexual harassment and abuse.
The players and the team have realized the off-field issues and now sit at a disappointing 4-5 record, good for last place in the NFC East.
“Since I’ve been here, there’s been a dark cloud over our organization,” Commanders cornerback Benjamin St-Just told the Journal de Quebec on Saturday. “Every time something good happens on the field, something bad happens off the field. A fresh start will give us renewed energy and regain the confidence of the fans.
The commanders faced harsh criticism for an inflammatory report released Wednesday using the month of August Shooting by running back Bryan Robinson Jr. Push back against the case.
Racine’s office announced Wednesday that he would hold a press conference the following day to make a “major announcement” regarding the commanders. In response, the commanders issued a statement that cited Robinson’s shooting and criticized its own city for “out-of-control violent crime.”
“Three months ago, a 23-year-old soldier in our squad was shot multiple times in broad daylight,” the commanders’ spokesman said in a statement. “Despite the rampant violent crime in DC, the DC Attorney General will hold a press conference tomorrow to ‘make an important announcement’ regarding the organization, Washington commanders learned for the first time on Twitter today.
“It is unfortunate that during his tenure, Mr. Racine has been more interested in making splashy headlines based on false legal principles than doing the hard work of making our streets safer, including bringing justice to our citizens. Those who shot and killed one of our soldiers.”
Robinson, a rookie running back He was shot twice during an armed robbery attempt In the month of August. He missed the first month of the season due to injuries, but later recovered and returned to the field. Two youths were arrested last week in connection with the shooting.
Robinson’s agent, Ryan Williams, tweeted his displeasure with the Chiefs’ statement Wednesday night.
“Until an hour ago, Commander Brian Robinson handled the situation very carefully, honestly and with class. I was very grateful for all of it,” Williams said in a tweet Wednesday. ”
Commanders Chairman Jason Wright issued another statement late Wednesday, saying the previous statement “revealed the continued frustration of our outside counsel with the Attorney General’s Office.”
“Prosecutors’ legitimate frustrations with the AG should be separate and apart from addressing the heinous crime that afflicted our hero,” Wright said.
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