DC attorney general sues NFL commander Daniel Snyder


In the culmination of an investigation that began more than a year ago, the office of DC Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) said Thursday it filed charges against the Washington commander, franchise owner Daniel Snyder, the NFL and the commissioner consumer protection lawsuit. Roger Goodell, accused of colluding to deceive and mislead the workplace of the customer investigation team in order to maintain its fan base in pursuit of income.

“Over the years, teams and their owners have caused very real and very serious harm, then lied to avoid liability and continue to extract profits,” Racine said in a news conference. “So far, they seem to have gotten away with it. . But today it stopped.”

DC Attorney General Karl Racine (D) charged the Commanding Officer, Snyder, the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell with colluding to mislead DC residents. (Video: Reuters)

The lawsuit was filed in the Civil Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. It claims the team and league violated Washington’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act by “public misrepresentation, omission and ambiguity of material facts.” Racine’s office said it was seeking “financial penalties under the CPPA for each incident of Mr. Commander. Commissioner Snyder, the NFL and Goodall lied to area residents dating back to July 2020,” It added that the defendants “could face fines of millions of dollars”.

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

“Faced with public outrage over detailed and widespread allegations of sexual misconduct and the persistently hostile work environment on the team, the defendants issued a series of public statements to convince the district’s consumers that such dysfunctional and misogynistic behavior is limited, And they are working with an independent investigation,” the lawsuit said. “These statements are false and are designed to mislead consumers, so they will continue to support the team financially without thinking they support this misconduct.”

The team and the NFL deny the allegations.

“More than two years ago, Dan and Tanya Snyder admitted that there had been an unacceptable workplace culture within their organization for years, and they apologized multiple times for allowing this to happen,” the commander’s lawyers, John Brownlee and Stuart Nash, said on the team. statement issued. “We agree with AG Racine on one thing: the public needs to know the truth. While the lawsuit repeats many innuendo, half-truths, we welcome the opportunity to defend the group in court for the first time and determine once and for all what is Fact, what is fiction.”

Goodell has said the league did not release Wilkinson’s findings because they had pledged to keep witnesses secret. The NFL said in July 2021 that based on those findings, the team would be fined $10 million and that Snyder’s wife, Tanya, the team’s co-CEO, would oversee the commander’s day-to-day operations for an unspecified period.

“The independent investigation into the Washington Commander’s workplace misconduct was conducted by Beth Wilkinson and her law firm thoroughly and comprehensively,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement Thursday. “Following the completion of the investigation, the NFL has released a summary of Ms. Wilkinson’s findings and imposed a record fine on the club and its ownership. We reject the legal inconsistencies filed today by the DC Attorney General against the NFL and Commissioner Goodell. reasonable and unfounded allegations, and will vigorously defend them.”

The NFL and Goodell said the results of a second investigation being conducted by attorney Mary Jo White would be released publicly.

Daniel Snyder has pledged to support the NFL’s investigation. His actions tell a different story.

The lawsuit, filed as Racine prepares to leave office, stems from an investigation that began in the fall of 2021. Snyder and the commander are also being interviewed by the House Oversight and Reform Committee and Jason S. Miares (R), Virginia’s attorney general.

In addition, investigators from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia have interviewed witnesses on allegations of financial misconduct involving the team, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. The team denies financial wrongdoing.

Racine’s office has no criminal enforcement authority over the matter.

The lawsuit says it “seeks the Washington Commander, Snyder, the NFL and Commissioner Goodell for liability for public statements, ambiguities and omissions in the form of injunctive relief, civil penalties and damages for misleading district consumers.”

Racine said Snyder, the team, Goodell and the league “have every right to answer the complaint,” adding: “They can seek to dismiss our case. We will issue subpoenas. We will seek sworn testimony — testimony. I Promise you. Let me give you a hunch: The testimony is unlikely to take place on a yacht, but at a meeting in the District of Columbia—because no one is above the law.”

Racine “appears to be more interested in producing compelling headlines based on alternative legal theories than trying to keep the streets safe,” the commander said in a statement Wednesday, citing the August filming of Mr. Bu in Washington. The Brian Robinson Jr. incident. A rookie running back for the team. Later Wednesday night, team president Jason Wright said in a statement that commanders should separate the issues.

“It’s a habit of bullies trying to bully their victims,” ​​Racine said Thursday. “It’s habitual for bullies to even try to bully civil servants. I looked at that comment candidly. It wasn’t surprising. I held back the fire because I knew the public would grab our back. Omg, omg… Has the public got our back?”

Daniel Snyder considering sale of Washington commander

Because Washington is not a state, adult felony indictments in the city are handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, not the Attorney General’s Office.

Racine announced last year that he would not seek a third term. DC attorney Brian Schwalb was elected Tuesday to replace him. Schwalb won three races for the Democratic nomination in June with Racine’s backing and was unopposed in Tuesday’s election. The office includes more than 700 attorneys and staff responsible for enforcing the laws of Washington, D.C. through criminal and civil means.

“I’m very confident that this case will move forward,” Racine said.

As the district’s first elected attorney general, Racine’s tenure has seen lawsuits and lawsuits large and small, all within the limited confines of his office. Racine fights negligent landlords and unscrupulous businesses with a focus on protecting tenants and consumers.

But he also took bigger swings. In recent years, he has filed lawsuits against Facebook, Amazon, the Roman Catholic clergy in Washington and President Donald Trump. After January, he filed a federal lawsuit against the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. The 6th Uprising, which recently worked with the attorneys general of California and Illinois, blocked the Albertsons, the grocery chain that owns Safeway, from paying shareholders $4 billion ahead of its proposed merger with Kroger.

Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, attorneys representing more than 40 former team employees, said in a statement Thursday: “Today’s civil lawsuit … further proves what we have known for a long time. : Both the Commanders and the NFL engaged in deception and lies designed to cover up decades of sexual harassment and abuse by the team, affecting not only victims of sexual harassment and abuse, but consumers in the District of Columbia. Filing this complaint also marks This is a major step forward in validating the experiences of the courageous women and men who have come forward to share their experiences and, for the first time, achieve a degree of transparency about the scope of misconduct.”

Megan Ebert, the former producer of the team’s broadcast department, attended Racine’s news conference on Thursday.

“Frankly, this is the moment we’ve been waiting for for the past two and a half years,” she said. “We’re always looking for transparency and accountability. … But fundamentally, I really want to see Dan Snyder and Roger Goodell accountable for what I think is a cover-up.”

The Commander announced last week that Daniel and Tanya Snyder had hired an investment bank to “consider potential deals” related to the franchise. Commander did not specify whether Snyder was considering selling the entire franchise or a minority stake. A team spokesperson later said, “We are exploring all options.”

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

“The way the law works is that legal mistakes made over a period of time need to be proven, whether or not a franchise is sold,” Racine said Thursday. “This lawsuit will continue. There will be accountability unless the matter is resolved. If it is resolved, we will tell you what we found.”

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

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