Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder will have to pay $60 million to the NFL to settle after an investigation concluded that the club had improperly concealed finances from the NFL and that Snyder touched a the organization’s former cheerleader inappropriately, according to a report the league released Thursday.
“Following extensive investigation, we have maintained both Tiffani Johnston’s allegations of sexual harassment by Mr Snyder and Jason Friedman’s allegation that the Club knowingly underreported NFL revenue to evade avoid its obligation to share VTS,” the report states.
The release of the report coincided with the sale of the Commanders, which was approved by league owners on Thursday.
Documentary evidence, witness interviews and the Club’s admission all corroborate Mr. Friedman’s allegations that the Club knowingly shielded and withheld NFL shareable revenues. ,” the report states.
Snyder and the club have denied any wrongdoing.
The report outlines a pattern of deliberate steps that investigators determined that the Commanders took to conceal revenue from the NFL.
“Although Mr Snyder denies it, multiple witnesses have informed us that Mr Snyder pressured staff to improve the Club’s financial performance (‘every last dollar” problem) and evidence suggests that, as a way to achieve higher revenues and lower costs, the Club, during the 2009–2015 seasons, violated the sharing rule in order to retain larger amounts from revenue shareable through ‘VTS savings’,” the report reads.
The report was put together following an investigation by Mary Jo White, a former US attorney and SEC chairman who was retained by the federation to investigate alleged suspicions with the Commanders. White and her team interviewed 44 witnesses, including former executives. They reviewed tens of thousands of documents, including emails, text messages and calendars, and had access to the club’s contracts and financial records. They used a forensic accounting firm to help review the financial allegations.
The Commanders reportedly have a “second set of books” in which they will keep records just for Snyder. The report found that the Commanders hid more than $45 million in revenue sharing.
Snyder did not cooperate with any part of the investigation and, in the case of a lack of funds, did not attempt to produce any records.
Investigators concluded that allegations that Snyder inappropriately touched a former cheerleader during a dinner and that he also tried to push her in his limo were also sustained.
“We take note of Ms Johnston’s account that Mr Snyder placed his hand on her thigh under the restaurant’s dining table (she removed her hand without comment) and pushed her towards his car after business-related dinner, and that Ms. Johnston did not consent, in any way, to Mr. Snyder’s actions,” the report states. “While we are unable to determine the exact date of the incident and the identities of all those who attended the dinner, we support Ms. Johnston’s allegations. We have spoken to Ms. Johnston. many times and found her to be very trustworthy.”
But the report said investigators found “insufficient evidence to substantiate Mr. Snyder’s involvement … in the security deposit matters, and were inconclusive as to his personal involvement. inappropriately shielding the Club’s VTS revenue,” the report reads.
According to the league, Snyder is expected to pay $60 million to the NFL to resolve the report’s findings and “all outstanding issues.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said: “The behavior demonstrated in Ms. White’s findings has no place in the NFL. “We strive for safe, respectful and professional workplaces. What Ms. Johnston experienced is inappropriate and contrary to NFL values.”