WASHINGTON — The legal professional normal for Washington has filed a civil lawsuit in opposition to the Washington Commanders, staff proprietor Daniel Snyder, the Nationwide Soccer League and commissioner Roger Goodell for allegedly colluding to deceive followers and district residents in regards to the league’s investigation into the staff’s poisonous office tradition and allegations of sexual assault in an effort to take care of a robust fan base and to extend earnings.
Lawyer Basic Karl Racine (D-D.C.) mentioned his workplace was suing “because you can’t lie to D.C. residents in order to protect your image and profits and get away with it. No matter who you are.” Racine then added, “Even if you’re the National Football League.”
Racine mentioned his workplace opened its investigation final fall and plans to subpoena Snyder in addition to former workers, promising accountability and transparency because the case strikes via the courtroom system.
“We will issue subpoenas,” Racine said. “We’ll search testimony below oath.”
Racine took a shot at Snyder’s digital deposition with the U.S. Home Committee on Oversight and Reform by saying depositions are “not likely to occur on a yacht but in a conference room in the District of Columbia.”
Racine alleged that while the league and the team publicly promised an independent investigation, “Snyder waged an interference marketing campaign to cowl up years of harassment” and that “the NFL let him do it, betraying followers’ belief by enabling Snyder to have a say on the finish of the investigation into him and the Commanders.”
Racine said his office has jurisdiction to sue because the District of Columbia’s consumer protection law is broad and covers any material misstatement that a business or merchant makes that could impact consumers in the district. He said the district is filing a civil complaint because his office does not have criminal jurisdiction on the matter.
“For years, the staff and its proprietor have brought about very actual and really severe hurt after which lied about it to dodge accountability,” Racine said. “They did all of this to cover the reality, shield their pictures and let the earnings proceed to roll.”
While not specifying the damages he’s seeking, Racine said the law provides for fines of up to $5,000 per lie.
Racine is leaving office in January but said he believes his successor Brian Schwalb, also a democrat, will continue the investigation. He also said if the Snyders decide to sell the team, the investigation would continue because the allegations occurred when Snyder was owner.
Four posters flanked Racine during his announcement, outlining some of the history of the team’s rebranding efforts that included references to D.C. and its flag and the history of the NFL’s investigation into the organization’s workplace culture.
“Dan Snyder assured followers that he would totally cooperate with the investigation and the outcomes could possibly be trusted,” one of the posters read. “That was a lie: He repeatedly tried to intrude, and the followers couldn’t belief outcomes that had been by no means made public. As a result of Snyder had a veto.”
Snyder and the Commanders have been under investigation for the past two years by multiple government agencies relating to allegations of a toxic workplace culture and sexual harassment under Snyder’s ownership the last 20 years, including an investigation by the House Oversight Committee after the NFL did not release the findings of a report compiled by lawyer Beth Wilkinson, which Racine characterized as “a so-called unbiased investigation.”
The findings of Wilkinson’s investigation were not released in July 2021, when the league fined the team $10 million for having a toxic workplace culture. The final poster read: “Followers’ outrage intensified when it grew to become clear that Snyder lied to them: There could be no transparency and no reckoning. That impacted client spending selections.”
Asked about a parallel review into the team’s finances and withholding money from season-ticket holders, Racine said, “There will be extra information on that subsequent week.”
Racine’s workplace launched an investigation into the staff across the time the Home Oversight Committee referred its case, which initially centered on office tradition points, to the Federal Commerce Fee for potential monetary improprieties.
Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, legal professionals who’ve been representing greater than 40 former workers who’ve made allegations in opposition to the franchise, mentioned in an announcement that the civil grievance “is further evidence of what we’ve long known: that both the Commanders and the NFL have engaged in deception and lies designed to conceal the team’s decades of sexual harassment and abuse, which has impacted not only the victims of that abuse, but also consumers in the District of Columbia” and validates “the experiences of the brave women and men who came forward and in achieving, for the first time, a level of transparency into the scope of the misconduct.”
Responding to the lawsuit, Commanders counsel John Brownlee and Stuart Nash mentioned in an announcement, “Over two years ago, Dan and Tanya Snyder acknowledged that an unacceptable workplace culture had existed within their organization for several years and they have apologized many times for allowing that to happen. We agree with AG Racine on one thing: the public needs to know the truth. Although the lawsuit repeats a lot of innuendo, half-truths and lies, we welcome this opportunity to defend the organization — for the first time — in a court of law and to establish, once and for all, what is fact and what is fiction.”
Racine famous the quantity of public outrage following the staff’s feedback, saying, “I knew that the public would catch our back, and boy oh boy on social media did the public catch our back. What Mr. Snyder sought to do is deflect attention from his own misconduct and impute motivation and intention to someone else, here the AG and the victim, and otherwise burn the bridge and trash the city.”
The staff is being investigated on a number of fronts, together with by the attorneys normal of D.C. and Virginia, Congress and the league. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy final week mentioned former U.S. Lawyer Mary Jo White’s overview on behalf of the league is ongoing and there’s no timetable for when will probably be accomplished.
The Snyders introduced final week they employed Financial institution of America Securities to look into promoting half or the entire staff. A staff spokesperson mentioned they had been “exploring all options” regarding the group that Forbes values at $5.6 billion.
The Related Press contributed to this report.