- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Congress may have wrapped up its investigation into the Washington Commanders late last year, but there are still probes out there looking into the team. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia has issued at least one subpoena to the Commanders as part of its probe into the team’s finances. The Justice Department subpoena, first reported by Front Office Sports, was issued last year, an attorney representing the Commanders said in a statement. 

“The team has been fully cooperating with the Eastern District of Virginia since it received a request for records last year,” attorney John Brownlee said. “The requested records only relate to customer security deposits and the team’s ticket sales and revenue.  The team will continue to cooperate with this investigation.”

The federal investigation is one of three probes into the Commanders, who have faced allegations of workplace misconduct and financial improprieties. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said this month that the probe by investigator Mary Jo White has no timetable for completion, while a spokesperson for Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares said Feb. 7 that his office’s probe into the team is continuing.

The team is also facing two lawsuits from the D.C. attorney general’s office over charges of workplace misconduct and financial improprieties. The team has denied the allegations and the cases are still in the early stages. 

During its 14-month-long investigation, the House Oversight and Accountability Committee wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission and others that raised concerns that the Commanders may have committed a crime by engaging in an “unlawful pattern” of financial misconduct. 

The letter was based on testimony from former employee Jason Friedman, who said the team intentionally withheld refundable security deposits from season-ticket holders and withheld ticket revenue from the NFL. The Commanders painted Friedman as disgruntled after being fired. 

In November, the Commanders reached a settlement with then-Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh by agreeing to return security deposits to former season ticket holders and pay a $250,000 fine. The settlement was not an admission of guilt by the Commanders, who said then that an outside law firm conducted an “extensive review” that found no evidence the team intentionally withheld security deposits or improperly converted those deposits into revenue.

That same month, the team confirmed owner Dan Snyder had hired an investment bank to explore a potential sale of the team. The Commanders have yet to be sold, though at least three potential buyers have toured the team’s facility in Ashburn. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia declined to comment. 

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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