Washington Commanders may have engaged in 'unlawful financial conduct,' Congress says

Washington Commanders helmet.
(Image credit: Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

The House Oversight Commitee believes it has uncovered evidence that the NFL's Washington Commanders engaged in a "troubling, long-running, and potentially unlawful pattern of financial conduct," per a letter it sent to the Federal Trade Commission, The Associated Press and Roll Call report.

The committee alleges the team purposely withheld ticket revenue it was supposed to fork over to the rest of the league, as well as millions in security deposits it was supposed to return to season-ticket holders.

In testimony before Congress, one former employee claimed the team had two sets of books: "one with underreported ticket revenue that went to the NFL and one with the full, complete picture," AP writes. According to the employee's testimony, team owner Dan Synder was aware of the practice, which was known by the team as "juice."

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NFL teams are required to deposit 40 percent of ticket revenue into a fund that's shared within the league.

As for the security deposits, the Oversight Committee claims that once Synder purchased the team in 1999, he instructed employees to "establish roadblocks" to make it harder for customers to get their money back.

The Commanders have said they deny "any suggestion of financial impropriety of any kind at any time," and "continue to cooperate fully with the committee's work."

"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," a team spokesperson said, per AP.

This is just the latest setback for the Commanders, who were previously rocked by yet another congressional probe regarding former employees' sexual harassment claims. That investigation was recently expanded to include financial improprieties, Front Office Sports reports.

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