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Commanders send letter to FTC denying financial impropriety | Sports

WASHINGTON — The NFL’s Washington Commanders denied a number of allegations of economic impropriety in a letter despatched Monday to the U.S Federal Trade Commission.

The 19-page letter — together with testimony, emails and different paperwork — got here as a reaction to the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform asking the FTC to seem into the workforce’s industry practices. There are greater than 80 pages of signed affidavits, emails and textual content message exchanges laid out because the workforce’s proof.

The committee closing week advised the FTC it discovered proof of misleading industry practices over the span of greater than a decade, together with withholding price tag earnings from visiting groups and refundable deposits from enthusiasts. The NFL stated it engaged Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Jo White “to review the most serious matters raised by the committee.”

The letter, signed by means of Jordan W. Siev from the legislation company Reed Smith, denies all of the ones allegations and takes intention on the motives and personality of former workforce VP of gross sales and customer support Jason Friedman, whose testimony in opposition to the workforce framed the committee’s advice.

Siev argues no monetary investigation is warranted, announcing the committee by no means asked details about the allegations made, which the Commanders imagine would transparent them of any wrongdoing.

“The committee didn’t request a unmarried record from the workforce; the committee didn’t invite a unmarried consultant of the workforce to handle the reality of the issues contained within the committee’s letter; and the committee didn’t pose inquiries to the workforce to respond to in writing about its allegations, or supply any mechanism in any respect for the workforce to handle the reality of the allegations,” the letter said. “Had the committee posed any of these questions or requests to the team, the team could — and would — easily and fully have rebutted each allegation.”

Congress began looking into the team’s workplace misconduct after the league did not release a report detailing the findings of an independent investigation into the matter, which led to a $10 million fine but no other discipline. The committee said the NFL and the team “have taken steps to withhold key documents and information.”

In response to the team’s letter, the House Oversight Committee said Monday its focus was on the toxic workplace, which is why it passed documents and statements to the FTC about potential financial misconduct to see whether an additional investigation is warranted.

“The team has failed to fully address the issues raised in the committee’s letter,” the committee said in a statement. “If the team maintains that it has nothing to hide, it should welcome an independent review by the FTC, or the NFL.”

Friedman testified before Congress saying the team had two separate financial books: one with underreported ticket revenue that went to the NFL and one with the full, complete picture. According to testimony, owner Dan Snyder was aware of the numbers shared with the league while also being privy to the actual data.

In the team’s letter to the FTC, former director of finance Paul Szczenski is quoted as saying, “I can state unequivocally that I never helped maintain, or saw anyone else maintain, a ‘second set’ of books.” The team also cites declarations from former chief operating officer Mitch Gershman and former general counsel David Donovan, along with emails and other documents to refute allegations cited by the oversight committee.

The team called Friedman’s accusations baseless, false and reckless and painted him as a disgruntled former employee. Lawyers Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent Friedman, said in a statement to The Associated Press their client is prepared to defend himself publicly if Snyder allows him to do so, but in the meantime would communicate directly with the team about what they called “demonstrably false allegations.”

“Mr. Friedman stands by his testimony, which was truthful and based on his experiences with the team,” Banks and Katz stated. “He is happy to answer follow-up questions from Congress, the FTC, or any government agency.”

In a commentary posted on social media, 8 ladies who have been former staff stated the workforce began a “smear marketing campaign” to break Friedman’s occupation.

“We are hurt and disgusted at the clear attempt by the Snyders and the Washington Commanders staff to attack Jason and his character, while completely deflecting and distracting the public from the truth: that the Snyders built a franchise on corrupt and toxic behavior,” stated the commentary, which used to be signed by means of Ana Nuñez, Brittany Pareti, Dominique Dupras, Emily Applegate, Megan Imbert, Melanie Coburn, Monica Elliott and Tiffani Johnston.

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