The Washington Commanders failed to refund security deposits, concealed revenue and kept two sets of financial books, the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee alleged in a letter it sent to the Federal Trade Commission.
The 20-page letter detailed what the committee said was a multiyear process of altering records to hide revenue that led to more profits for the organization. The allegation of financial improprieties were made by former longtime employee Jason Friedman who, on March 14, met with members of the committee as part of its investigation into the team’s workplace culture.
According to emails and an Excel sheet he provided to the committee, Friedman alleged the team might have retained as much as $5 million in deposits from approximately 2,000 customers.
“Quite frankly, as you go through the allegations it reads like a description of some organization out of ‘The Godfather’ and not an NFL football team,” Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill) told ESPN. He signed the letter along with the chairwoman of the committee, Rep. Carol Maloney (D-NY). “It really helps to color the culture and impunity that other witnesses have described and the evidence of severe dysfunction.”
In a statement included in the letter, Maloney said, “This new information on potential financial misconduct suggests that the rot under Dan Snyder’s leadership is much deeper than imagined. It further reinforces the concern that this organization has been allowed to operate with impunity for far too long.”
In the letter, the committee says Friedman claimed the team maintained two books — one that was shared with the NFL with the underreported ticket revenue — and another that included the accurate revenue and was shown to owner Dan Snyder.
Washington denied the allegations and referred to a statement the team released on March 31. A team spokesperson said in that release, “The team categorically denies any suggestion of financial impropriety of any kind at any time. We adhere to strict internal processes that are consistent with industry and accounting standards, are audited annually by a globally respected independent auditing firm, and are also subject to regular audits by the NFL. We continue to cooperate fully with the Committee’s work.”
The House Oversight and Reform Committee might still hold a hearing on the investigation into the workplace. Krishnamoorthi said, for now, they want to let the FTC investigate the financial allegations.
“It seems like every week or every time we speak with a witness we learn something new,” Krishnamoorthi said. “At this point I won’t be surprised about anything the witnesses say with regard to the team. … Ownership thinks it can get away with things that other people can’t.”
Friedman, who spent 24 years with the organization before being fired in October 2020, discussed multiple allegations with the committee: a failure to return security deposits to customers; the organization converting security deposits into nonshareable revenue; the concealment of ticket revenue from the NFL and misleading customers to sell higher-priced tickets.
Friedman, who started working for the franchise under late owner Jack Kent Cooke, held the title of vice president of sales and customer service when he was fired. According to the letter, his job was to “oversee sales and customer service for all regular and premium seating at FedEx Field, including club, dream and loge seats.”