D.C. attorney general sues Daniel Snyder, Commanders, NFL

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The office of D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) said Thursday that it is filing a consumer protection lawsuit against Washington commissioners Daniel Snyder, the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell, accusing them of colluding to defraud customers. mislead and mislead about an investigation of the team’s workplace in order to maintain the franchise’s fan base in pursuit of revenue.

“Faced with public outrage over detailed and widespread allegations of sexual misconduct and a persistently hostile work environment at the team, Defendants have made a series of public statements to reassure District consumers that this dysfunctional and misogynistic behavior has been contained and that they are fully cooperating with an independent investigation,” the lawsuit states. “These statements were false and calculated to mislead consumers so that they would continue to support the team financially without thinking that they were supporting such misconduct.”

The lawsuit is being filed in the civil division of the DC Superior Court. It alleges the team and league violated the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act with “public misrepresentations, omissions and obscurities of material facts.” Racine’s office said it is seeking “financial penalties under the CPPA for each incident in which the commanders, Mr. Snyder, the NFL, and Commissioner Goodell have lied to county residents dating back to July 2020,” adding that the defendants “have millions of dollars in fines.”

Racine’s office said it will also seek a court order to compel the NFL to release the findings of a previous investigation, conducted by attorney Beth Wilkinson, into the team’s workplace.

“OAG’s thorough investigation revealed that the commanders, the NFL, and their executives, Mr. Snyder and Commissioner Goodell, worked to prevent county residents from learning the truth and continue to profit,” Racine said in a statement said. “They have publicly pledged to fully cooperate with an independent investigation into the toxic work environment and sexual harassment within the Commanders organization and have promised results that supporters can trust. But behind the scenes Mr. Snyder ran an interference campaign to cover up years of harassment. And the NFL let him do it, betraying fans’ trust by mr. To enable Snyder to have a say at the end of the investigation into him and the commanders.”

The commanders said in a statement Wednesday that Racine “seems more interested in making headlines based on off-the-cuff legal theories than doing the hard work of making the streets safe” and blamed the shooting in August. Washington from Brian Robinson Jr., a quote. rookie running back for the team. Later that evening, Commander president Jason Wright said in a statement that the team should have kept the two issues separate.

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DC Attorney General Plans to Take Action Against Daniel Snyder, Commanders

The action comes as Racine prepares to leave office, and it stems from an investigation that began in the fall of 2021. Snyder and the commanders are also being investigated by the NFL, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and the office of Jason S. Miyares (R), Virginia’s attorney general.

In addition, investigators for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia have interviewed witnesses about allegations of financial improprieties involving the team, according to multiple people familiar with the situation. The team has denied any financial improprieties.

Racine’s office does not have criminal enforcement authority in the case.

Racine said his office “interviewed numerous witnesses, including former Commanders employees who experienced and witnessed harassment” and “reviewed thousands of internal documents produced by the Commanders and the NFL, including emails.”

The lawsuit says it “seeks accountability from the Washington commanders, Snyder, the NFL and Commissioner Goodell for public statements, ambiguities and omissions that tended to mislead district consumers in the form of injunctive relief, civil penalties and restitution.”

Goodell and the league said they did not release Wilkinson’s findings because of promises of confidentiality made to witnesses. The NFL said in July 2021 that, based on those findings, the team would be fined $10 million, and Snyder’s wife, Tanya Snyder, the franchise’s co-chief executive officer, would oversee the commanders’ day-to-day operations for ‘ an indefinite period.

The NFL and Goodell said the findings of an ongoing investigation being conducted by attorney Mary Jo White will be made public.

The statement on Wednesday from the Commanders’ spokesperson said: “Less than three months ago, a 23-year-old player in our team was shot several times in broad daylight. Despite violent crime in DC being out of control, Washington commanders first learned on Twitter today that the DC Attorney General will hold a press conference tomorrow to make a “major announcement involving the organization related.

That statement caught the attention of Robinson’s agent, Ryan Williams of Athletes First, who wrote on Twitter Wednesday night: “Until an hour ago, the commanders handled the Brian Robinson situation with such care, sincerity and class. And I was so grateful for it all. While I know there are some great people in that building, whoever is behind this statement is not one of them.”

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The commanders responded with a statement from Wright in which he said the team’s attorneys had “legitimate frustrations” with Racine that should have been “separate and apart from reference” to the shooting.

DC police arrested two teenage suspects — a 17-year-old and later a 15-year-old — in connection with the Aug. 28 shooting during an attempted robbery along the H Street commercial strip in Northeast Washington. The 17-year-old was charged as a juvenile with assault with intent to rob while armed. The 15-year-old, who was 14 at the time of the incident, faces charges of armed robbery. Police said Friday they were still looking for a third suspect who drove the two teenagers away from the attack.

Daniel Snyder Considers Selling Washington Commanders

“The commanders have cooperated fully with the AG’s investigation for nearly a year,” the team spokesman said in Wednesday’s earlier statement. “As recently as Monday, a lawyer from the team met with the Attorney General who did not at that time suggest that he intended to take any action and in fact revealed fundamental misunderstandings of the underlying facts . It is unfortunate that Mr. In his final days in office, Racine is more interested in making splashy headlines based on outlandish legal theories than doing the hard work of making the streets safe for our citizens, including bringing people to justice . who shot one of our players.”

Because DC is not a state, adult crime prosecutions in the city are handled by the US Attorney’s Office rather than the Attorney General’s Office.

Racine announced last year that he would not seek a third term. DC attorney Brian Schwalb was elected to succeed him on Tuesday. Schwalb won a three-way race in June, with Racine’s endorsement, for the Democratic nomination and was unopposed in Tuesday’s election. The office includes more than 700 attorneys and staff and is responsible for enforcing DC law through criminal and civil means.

As the District’s first elected attorney general, Racine’s tenure was marked by lawsuits and actions, large and small, that fell within the confines of his office’s limited scope. Locally, Racine has gone after negligent landlords and unscrupulous businesses, focusing on tenant and consumer protection.

But he also took bigger swings. In recent years, he has pursued cases against Facebook, Amazon, the Roman Catholic clergy in DC and President Donald Trump. He filed a federal lawsuit against the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers after the Jan. 6 uprising and recently partnered with the attorneys general in California and Illinois to block the Safeway-owned grocery chain Albertsons from $4 billion to pay out to shareholders ahead of a proposed merger with grocer Kroger.

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Attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent more than 40 former team employees, said in a statement Wednesday: “Today’s civil complaint … is further evidence of what we have known for a long time: that both the commanders and the NFL engaged in deception and lies designed to cover up the team’s decades of sexual harassment and abuse, which affected not only the victims of that abuse, but also consumers in the District of Columbia. The filing of this complaint is also an important step in validating the experiences of the brave women and men who have come forward to share their experiences and for the first time to bring a level of transparency into the extent of the misconduct. to achieve.”

The NFL did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Commanders announced last week that Daniel and Tanya Snyder had hired an investment bank to consider “potential transactions” related to the franchise. The commanders did not specify whether the Snyders were considering selling the entire franchise or a minority stake. A team spokesman then said: “We are exploring all options.”

Jeff Miller, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy, said Wednesday the league is not involved in the Commanders’ sale process at this point and has no expectation of whether Snyder will sell all or part of the franchise. will not sell.

“I will refer you to the club for information on any potential transaction,” Miller said on a conference call with reporters. “It is of course their decision.”

Among those mentioned as prospective buyers of the team are Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post; music mogul Jay-Z, a potential partner with Bezos in a bid; Mat Ishbia, the president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage who previously tried to buy the Denver Broncos; and media entrepreneur Byron Allen, another Broncos bidder. Actor Matthew McConaughey is exploring the possibility of joining or forming an investment group to bid, a person familiar with the situation said Monday.

Michael Brice-Saddler and Liz Clarke contributed to this report.

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