A former Washington Commanders employee told the House Oversight and Reform Committee that owner Dan Snyder instructed him to pour milk on the carpet of Washington Nationals owner Mark Lerner’s suite at FedEx Field so that the room would smell like “sour milk” when Mr. Lerner and his family attended a game.
David Pauken, the team’s former COO, said Mr. Snyder gave the order after the owner had reached a deal with Mr. Lerner’s real estate company for land to build out parking around the stadium. Mr. Snyder, Mr. Pauken said, thought he paid “way too much money” for the space, leading to the prank.
Mr. Pauken’s testimony was released Wednesday prior to the committee’s hearing on the Commanders’ workplace misconduct in which NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appeared remotely.
The committee released Mr. Pauken’s testimony with three other former employees to illustrate “Mr. Snyder’s role at creating a toxic workplace at the Commanders,” the panel said.
Mr. Pauken testified that the incident occurred around 2003 or 2004. The Lerners, whose successful real estate business made them one of the region’s most prominent and wealthy families, did not purchase the Washington Nationals until 2006.
Mr. Snyder also ordered another employee to pour milk in Mr. Lerner’s suite on another occasion, Mr. Pauken said. The name of that employee is redacted from the transcript.
Mr. Pauken called the incident “fairly embarrassing” and added he owes Mr. Lerner an apology.
“If you’re asking me things I regret doing,” Mr. Pauken told the committee on June 7, “that would fall under that category.”
The Commanders did not respond to a request for comment.
• Matthew Paras can be reached at email@example.com.
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