Attorneys working for Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder have informed the House Committee on Oversight and Reform that the billionaire will not be attending or testifying at next week’s hearing on hostile workplace and sexual harassment claims against himself and his NFL club.
The letter, provided to DailyMail.com by a Snyder spokesperson, says he will be out of the country on June 22, and goes on to raise concerns about the scope of the questioning and the Committee’s refusal to reveal more information beforehand.
A source close to Snyder told DailyMail.com that Snyder cannot attend the hearing ‘given the Committee’s disregard for due process.’ In their letter to Congress, Snyder’s attorneys say he ‘remains willing to cooperate with the Committee.’
Despite Snyder’s decision, the Committee still plans to hold the hearing on Capitol Hill at 10am on June 22.
In addition to Snyder, the Committee also invited NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to come and testify about the league’s investigation into the allegations against the Commanders. On Wednesday, a league spokesperson confirmed to DailyMail.com that Goodell has accepted the invitation and will attend the hearing virtually.
Committee chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (Democrat, New York) and Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (Democrat, Illinois), who chairs the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, have accused the league of being evasive on the matter.
Attorneys working for Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder have informed the House Committee on Oversight and Reform that the billionaire will not be attending next week’s hearing on hostile workplace and sexual harassment claims against his NFL club
Committee members also invited NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (pictured) to come and testify about the league’s investigation into the allegations against the Commanders, but it remains unclear if he will be in attendance. A NFL spokesman did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment
Sexual harassment allegations against team employees ranged from inappropriate comments to the creation of a lewd behind-the-scenes video from a cheerleader calendar shoot in 2008, according to a 2020 Washington Post report.
At a February hearing before the committee, former team employee Tiffani Johnston added to those allegations, saying Snyder once grabbed her thigh at the team dinner. Johnston said Snyder later tried to force her into a limousine until his lawyer intervened, allegedly telling the owner ‘this is a bad idea.’
Snyder has denied these claims, although an emergency motion filed in a Virginia federal court in 2020 revealed the existence of a 2009 settlement for ‘misconduct.’ The details of the deal have remain sealed, thanks to Snyder’s legal efforts.
Congress began looking into the team’s workplace culture in October following a NFL investigation into the sexual harassment claims that resulted in a $10 million fine for Snyder, but no written report or public accountability.
The committee wants to use the June 22 hearing to examine the NFL’s handling of the supposedly independent investigation, which was conducted by Washington DC attorney Beth Wilkinson’s firm.
Snyder’s attorney, Karen Seymour of New York-based Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, cites a ‘longstanding Commanders-related business conflict’ in her letter to Congress, but places more emphasis on the committee’s refusal to allay her client’s concerns about the hearing
Snyder’s attorney, Karen Seymour of New York-based Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, cites a ‘longstanding Commanders-related business conflict’ in her letter to Congress, but places more emphasis on the committee’s refusal to allay her client’s concerns about the hearing.
Seymour claims her requests for ‘additional information’ about the hearings were rejected and shared misgivings about the scope of the questions her client would face.
‘Specifically, although the Committee indicated that the hearing would be ‘focused on’ the historical workplace culture issues, I was informed that the Committee would not provide any assurance that the questions directed to Mr. Snyder would be limited to those issues, given the wide latitude granted to members to ask questions beyond the topics identified by the Committee,’ Seymour wrote.
The letter also boasts about the team’s ‘diverse and inclusive executive team’ that includes the NFL’s first African-American team president, Jason Wright, and has one of just five minority head coaches in the league, Ron Rivera.
The letter also boasts about the team’s ‘diverse and inclusive executive team’ that includes the NFL’s first African-American team president, Jason Wright, and has one of just five minority head coaches in the league, Ron Rivera
The letter also boasts about the team’s ‘diverse and inclusive executive team’ that includes the NFL’s first African-American team president, Jason Wright (left), and has one of just five minority head coaches in the league, Ron Rivera (right)
Ex-Commanders employee Tiffani Johnston told Congress’ Oversight Committee that Snyder once groped her thigh during a team dinner and pushed her toward his limousine with his hand on her lower back. Snyder has denied the allegation
Goodell has faced questions from both committee members and others over his refusal to release the findings of that investigation, while the league has cited privacy concerns and the lack of a written report for that decision.
Wilkinson would have recommended that Snyder be forced by the league to sell the team, according to Virginia sports radio station, 106.7 The Fan, and Pro Football Talk. However, rather than voicing that opinion, Wilkinson’s firm instead took millions from the league and agreed to remain silent about the findings of the investigation.
The committee previously demanded evidence purportedly showing that both Snyder and the league meddled with the supposedly independent probe.
Wilkinson, a prominent attorney, was originally hired by the Washington Football Team (WFT) in 2020 to investigate the hostile workplace allegations against the club. The NFL took control of the investigation soon thereafter and Wilkinson began reporting to Goodell’s office until the probe was concluded in July of 2021.
As a result of the investigation, the team was fined $10 million, and Snyder temporarily stepped away from day-to-day control of the franchise in favor of his wife, Tanya.
Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (Democrat, Illinois), who chairs the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, accused the league of being evasive
Committee chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (Democrat, New York) has spent months investigation the sexual harassment claims against the Commanders and the NFL’s own probe into those allegations, which did not result in a written report
The league probe was supposedly handled independently by Beth Wilkinson (pictured) and her Washington DC law firm
In addition to Johnston’s testimony, another former employee named Melanie Coburn, testified that she was at Snyder’s home in Aspen when he hosted a party with prostitutes for male employees. Other former Commanders employees told HBO ahead of the February hearing that Snyder witnessed male employees sexually harassing – and even groping – female subordinates.
The former employees, including five women and one man, told the Committee in February that they feared retaliation from Snyder.
In response to those claims, the the Commanders hired an outside investigator to look into Johnston’s claim, but the league quickly intervened and assumed control of that investigation as well.
And in April, the committee heard testimony from one former employee who made financial malpractice claims agains the club. Specifically, the team was accused of improperly withholding ticket revenue from visiting teams and refundable deposits from fans.
The Virginia attorney general’s office is also investigating those accusations, which the team also denies.
WASHINGTON COMMANDERS SEXUAL HARASSMENT FALLOUT:
Team owner Dan Snyder: There are several outstanding allegations against Snyder. A former cheerleader named Tiffany Bacon Scourby told the Washington Post that Snyder suggested that she join his ‘close friend’ in a hotel room in 2004 so they ‘could get to know each other.’ In February of 2022, a female former employee told HBO that she saw Snyder laughing and puffing on a cigar while watching a male executive grope her female co-worker’s backside in Snyder’s private suite at FedEx Field. Another former employee, Tiffani Mattingly Johnston, said Snyder put his hand on her knee once at a dinner and later pressured her to get into his limousine, which she refused. Snyder privately settled one sexual harassment allegation in 2009 for $1.6 million following an unspecified incident aboard his private plane, according to the Washington Post. Furthermore, the billionaire is accused of belittling executives, according to three members of the executive staff. Specifically, it’s claimed that he ridiculed an employee named Dennis Greene for being a college cheerleader, once allegedly ordering him to do cartwheels for his amusement. Snyder temporarily handed over day-to-day control of the club to his wife, Tanya, as the club was fined $10 million by the NFL. He now faces a criminal investigation in Virginia, where the club is accused of financial malpractice for allegedly swindling season ticket holders out of security deposits and improperly withholding ticket revenue from NFL teams. The Commanders have denied these claims.
Dan Snyder (left) still owns the Washington Football Team, but temporarily ceded day-to-day control of the franchise following the NFL’s investigation into sexual harassment claims against the club. He has since accused now-former team president Bruce Allen (right) of conspiring to spread false information about him to an Indian website
Chief operating officer Mitch Gershman: Former team employee Emily Applegate said he would routinely compliment her body while also regularly berating her for insignificant problems, like printer malfunctions. Her allegations were supported by two other female former employees. When contacted, Gershman told The Post, ‘I barely even remember who she is,’ adding that he ‘would apologize to anyone who thought I was verbally abusive.’ Gershman left the team in 2015.
Team president Bruce Allen: Although Allen was not accused of sexual harassment or verbal abuse, Applegate claims he must have known about her problems because ‘he sat 30 feet away from me… and saw me sobbing at my desk several times a week.’ The brother of former Virginia Governor and US Senator George Allen, Bruce found himself at the center of Jon Gruden’s email controversy in October of 2021 when the now-former Raiders coach’s racist, homophobic messages were mysteriously leaked to the media. Allen also received racist and sexist emails from Jon Gruden, which surfaced during the NFL’s sexual harassment investigation and were leaked to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Ultimately the emails led to Gruden’s dismissal as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. Bruce Allen was fired after the 2019 season, when Washington went 3-13.
Former Washington Redskins director of pro personnel Alex Santos
Director of pro personnel Alex Santos: Six former employees and two reporters who covered the team told the Washington Post that Santos made inappropriate remarks to them about their appearances. He also asked them if they were interested in him romantically. In 2019, he allegedly pinched Rhiannon Walker, a reporter for The Athletic, and told her she had ‘an ass like a wagon.’ This resulted in an internal investigation. Another reporter, the Ringer’s Nora Princiotti, also accused Santos of harassing her. Santos, who declined to speak with The Post, was fired in July of 2020.
Team radio play-by-play announcer Larry Michael: Seven former employees told The Post that ‘the voice of the Washington Redskins’ frequently talked openly about female co-workers looks, often making sexually disparaging remarks. He was once caught on a ‘hot mic’ in 2018 discussing the looks of one intern, six sources told The Post. He is also accused of ordering employees to edit together a video of lewd behind-the-scenes outtakes from a 2008 calendar shoot. Michael, who declined to speak with The Post, retired after 16 seasons in July of 2020.
Former radio announcer Larry Michael (left) and former assistant director of pro personnel Richard Mann II (right)
Assistant director of pro personnel Richard Mann II: In a text message obtained by The Post, Mann told a female colleague that he and other men in the office debated whether she had plastic surgery on her breasts. He also warned another female coworker to expect an ‘inappropriate hug’ from him, adding, ‘don’t worry that will be a stapler in my pocket, nothing else.’ Mann declined to speak with The Post after being fired in July of 2020.
Former president of business operations Dennis Greene
President of business operations Dennis Greene: Five former employees told The Post that Greene asked female sales staffers to wear revealing outfits and flirt with wealthy season ticket holders and suite holders. Greene worked for the club for 17 years until 2018, when it was revealed that he had sold access to team cheerleaders at a bikini photo shoot in Costa Rica as part of a ticket package. According to a New York Times investigation, the 2013 calendar shoot did not involve any sex, but team officials did worry the cheerleaders by taking their passports. Some cheerleaders say they were required to be topless, although the shoot did not include any nudity. After a 14-hour shoot one day, nine of the 36 cheerleaders were reportedly asked to escort suite holders to a local nightclub. Several of the women began to cry, according to the Times. Greene declined to comment and has not worked for the team since he resigned in 2018.