The D.C. attorney general is suing Washington leaders, owner Dan Snyder and the NFL for deceiving residents



CNN

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine announced a lawsuit against Washington Corporation owner Dan Snyder, his team, and the NFL Thursday, alleging they colluded to deceive D.C. residents about The NFL’s investigation of a team’s toxic workplace culture and allegations of sexual assault.

“For years, the team and its owner caused very real and serious harm and then lied about it to avoid accountability and continue to make a profit,” Racine said Thursday. “So far they seem to have gotten rid of that, but that stops today.”

The lawsuit alleges that these deceptive efforts are intended to keep fans in the dark and increase the team’s profits. The lawsuit cites the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Act, which gives the attorney general broad power to hold individuals or a company accountable for misleading customers.

An AG investigation began last fall and found that Snyder lied to D.C. residents when he denied knowing anything about allegations of a hostile work environment and a culture of sexual harassment within the team, according to Racine.

“Indeed, the evidence suggests that Snyder was not only aware of the toxic culture within his organization, but encouraged and participated in it,” Racine said. “Mr. Snyder exercised a high degree of personal control over everything the leaders did and gave his misconduct to others permission to treat women in the same degrading manner.”

The suit alleges that the NFL and leaders launched what they described as an independent investigation into the allegations, but secretly entered into an agreement to give Snyder authority over what could be shared with the public. At the same time, Snyder and the team attempted to interfere with and obstruct the investigation, according to the lawsuit.

Ultimately, the NFL issued a short press release summarizing the findings of the investigation, but said they had not received a written investigation report due to confidentiality concerns, the lawsuit states.

Does any part of this investigation appear to be independent? Does any of this sound like accountability? “Of course not,” said Racine. That’s why we’re suing.”

Racine is now seeking unspecified monetary fines for every incident in which the two sides lied to residents since July 2020. The attorney general said penalties could run into the millions of dollars. The lawsuit also seeks a court order compelling the NFL to disclose all results of its 10-month investigation into leaders’ workplace culture.

Leaders advisor John Brownlee and Stuart Nash issued a joint statement in response to the lawsuit.

“Over two years ago, Dan and Tanya Snyder acknowledged the existence of an unacceptable workplace culture within their organization for several years and have apologized multiple times for allowing this to happen,” they said. “We and AG Racine agree on one thing: the public needs to know the truth. Although the lawsuit repeats many insinuations, half-truths and lies, we welcome this opportunity to defend the organization – for the first time – in a court of law and to establish the truth and what is fiction in a meaningful way. ultimate. . ”

NFL Vice President Brian McCarthy dismissed the allegations as baseless.

“An independent investigation into workplace misconduct in Washington leaders’ was conducted by Beth Wilkinson and her law firm in a comprehensive and thorough manner. After the investigation was completed, the NFL announced a summary of Ms. Wilkinson’s findings and imposed a record fine against the club and its ownership.

“We reject the legally incorrect and baseless allegations made today by the DC attorney general against the NFL and Commissioner Goodell and will defend vigorously against these allegations.”

This ad is only the latest version of the leaders Brand new team It is steeped in several major investigations. Once one of the premiere franchises in the NFL, the team has had little success on the field and constant off-field controversies over the past two decades under Snyder.

Snyder announced last week that he is considering selling the team and that he and his wife have hired Bank of America Securities “to look into potential transactions.”

the allegations From the Washington Post report In 2020, 15 former female leadership employees and two female journalists who covered the team accused team members of sexual harassment and verbal abuse.

After an investigation by attorney Beth Wilkinson, the NFL fined the team $10 million, and Snyder handed control of the franchise’s day-to-day operations to his wife, Tanya Snyder.

However, the NFL refused to publicly release the findings of the investigation, prompting Congress to engage in a review of the House Oversight Committee. Commissioner Goodell testified before the committee in June that leaders’ culture was not only “unprofessional, but toxic for far too long”.

Goodell said that the file The team did not receive a written report from Wilkinson To preserve the confidentiality of those who participated in the internal investigation.

Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent more than 40 former employees of the leaders, released a statement praising the lawsuit and calling on the NFL to release the Wilkinson investigation.

“The civil complaint filed today by the D.C. Attorney General against the leaders of Washington, Dan Snyder, the NFL, and Commissioner Roger Goodell is further evidence of what we have known for a long time: that the leaders and the NFL engaged in deception and lies designed to obscure contracts The team from sexual harassment and sexual assault, which affected not only the victims of this violation, but also consumers in the District of Columbia.

Filing this complaint is also an important step in verifying the experiences of the brave women and men who came forward, and in achieving a level of transparency for the first time in the scope of misconduct.

“For too long, the NFL has effectively concealed wrongdoing by Washington’s leaders and has shielded Mr. Snyder from accountability at every turn. The NFL must understand that sexual harassment and sexual abuse cannot be tolerated or hidden.”

The players and team have also felt the issues off the field, as it now sits at a disappointing 4-5 record, good for a last place in the NFC East.

“Since I got here, it has been a dark cloud over our organization,” Chief Soldiers’ Officer Benjamin Saint-Just told Journal de Quebec on Saturday. “Every time something good happens on the field, something bad happens off the field. A fresh start will give us renewed energy and restore the confidence of the fans.”

The leaders also faced sharp criticism for an inflammatory statement published on Wednesday that used the month of August Shooting Back Run Brian Robinson Jr. to respond to the lawsuit.

Racine’s office announced Wednesday that it will hold a press conference to make a “significant announcement” regarding the leaders the following day. In response, the leaders released a statement referring to Robinson’s shooting and criticizing her hometown for “violent crimes out of control.”

“Less than three months ago, a 23-year-old player on our team was shot multiple times in broad daylight,” a captain’s spokesperson said in the statement. Despite out-of-control violent crime in D.C., Washington leaders today learned for the first time on Twitter that the D.C. Attorney General will hold a press conference “to make a significant announcement” regarding the organization tomorrow.

“It is unfortunate that in his final days in office, Mr. Racine appears more interested in producing flashy headlines, based on anomalous legal theories, than in doing the serious work of making the streets safe for our citizens, including introducing the people who shot one of our players.” .

Robinson, a junior was running backwards Shot twice in attempted armed robbery in August. He missed the first month of the season due to injuries but has since recovered and returned to the field. Two teenagers were arrested last week in connection with the shooting.

Robinson’s agent, Ryan Williams, tweeted his displeasure with the leaders’ statement Wednesday night.

“Even an hour ago, the leaders treated Brian Robinson’s situation with great care, honesty and class. I was so grateful for all of that,” Williams said in a tweet on Wednesday. “Although I know there are some great humans in that building, everyone who Hiding behind this statement is not one of them.”

Chief Commander Jason Wright issued another statement later Wednesday, saying the previous statement “expressed our external counsel’s continued frustration with the attorney general’s office.”

“The lawyers’ legitimate frustrations with AG should have been separate and apart from mentioning the egregious crime that affected our player,” Wright said.

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