Congress Refers Commanders’ Alleged Financial Malfeasance to F.T.C.

The congressional committee’s letter details the tactics allegedly used by Washington, based largely on its interview in March with Jason Friedman, who worked for the team for 24 years and last served as a vice president of sales and customer service, as well as supporting documentation he submitted. Friedman was fired in October 2020 for poor performance and inappropriate behavior, according to the team. He testified to the committee about a practice he said some team executives called “juicing,” in which money was intentionally misallocated in the team’s accounting system and used for other purposes.

Friedman provided the committee with two email exchanges, from April 2013 and May 2014, in which he said he conferred with Washington team executives about moving N.F.L. ticket revenue into other categories that would not be subject to the league’s revenue-sharing program, such as licensing fees for college games or concerts hosted at the team’s stadium in Maryland. In testimony cited in the letter, Friedman said that team executives kept one set of books with the altered numbers submitted to the N.F.L. and a second set with the accurate accounting that was shown to Snyder.

Friedman, who said he oversaw the processing of security deposits, also told the committee that after Snyder bought the team in 1999, the team intentionally made it difficult for ticket holders to recoup their refundable security deposits. While the team stopped collecting deposits for most seat leases about a year after Snyder became the owner, Friedman shared with the committee information exported from the team’s electronic database to support his claim that, as of July 2016, the team had retained security deposits for about 2,000 accounts totaling around $5 million.

The letter includes screenshots of the spreadsheet Friedman provided to the committee cataloging these ticket holder accounts, including one under Goodell’s name with an unreturned security deposit of about $1,000. The committee wrote that the deposit appeared to have been collected before Goodell became commissioner in 2006 and that it had not determined when it was paid or whether the amount had since been refunded.

Friedman further testified that his boss would direct him to convert unclaimed security deposits into “juice” at Snyder’s behest, particularly when the team’s sales were sagging. Snyder gave directions to stop this practice around 2017, Friedman told the committee.

There was no other evidence presented in the letter that directly linked the scheme to Snyder.

In a statement, a spokesman for Republicans on the Oversight Committee pushed back on the allegations in the letter. The Democrats on the committee, he said, were “attacking a private company using the claims of a disgruntled ex-employee who had limited access to the team’s finances, was fired for violating team policies, and has his own history of creating a toxic workplace environment.”

Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the N.F.L., said the league continues to cooperate with the committee and has provided more than 210,000 pages of documents. The league appointed Mary Jo White, a former federal prosecutor, to “review the serious matters raised by the committee” including allegations of financial impropriety raised in the letter.

The letter was sent ten months after the league fined the Washington team $10 million and forced Snyder away from the team for several months after a separate investigation found evidence of harassment against women in the team’s front office.

Source link

Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *