Daniel Snyder ‘shadow check’ accusers, panel finds

NFL

The Commanders owner hired private investigators and lawyers to try to hold NFL team president Bruce Allen responsible for workplace issues.

Commanders owner Daniel Snyder, seen here with Tanya Snyder, declined to testify at Wednesday’s congressional hearing. Jonathan Newton/Washington Post

WASHINGTON – Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder and members of his legal team conducted a “shadow investigation” and prepared a “dossier” targeting former team employees, their lawyers and journalists, trying to discredit their allegations and make the allegations. After attempting to shift the blame. Pervasive misconduct in the team workplaceAccording to the findings of an investigation conducted by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

In addition, Snyder hired private investigators and lawyers to trace the inappropriate emails and evidence, intended to reassure the NFL and Beth Wilkinson, who were conducting a league-sponsored investigation of sexual harassment at the organization, that Snyder The longtime team president of Bruce Allen was primarily responsible for someone. workplace issues.

The preliminary findings were detailed in a 29 page memo Representative Carolyn Maloney, D.Y., from committee chair, to fellow committee members ahead of Wednesday’s Capitol Hill hearing at the Commanders’ Workplace, at which NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to testify under oath, Snyder has declined to participate, objecting to the date and terms.

“This memorandum describes evidence uncovered by the committee that shows that although publicly, the NFL and the Commanders recruited a respected DC attorney [Wilkinson] In order to conduct an internal investigation into the Commanders’ toxic workplace, in private, Commanders owner Daniel Snyder casts a shadow over the NFL’s eyes in an apparent attempt to discredit his accusers and offer an alternative target for investigation. “Bound by an agreement to pursue a common interest and a joint legal strategy, the NFL and the Commanders ultimately buried Ms. Wilkinson’s findings,” Maloney wrote in her memo.

Representatives for the team and an attorney for Snyder did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday morning. An NFL spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the committee’s findings on Wednesday.

The hearing comes a day after The Washington Post reported that a team employee In April 2009, Snyder was accused of sexual assault and assaultthree months before the team agreed to pay $1.6 million to the woman As part of a confidential agreement, as per legal correspondence obtained by the Post. Snyder calls woman’s claims ‘unqualified’ And said the team only agreed to settle under the guidance of an insurance company.

“Mr. Snyder’s lawyers used their shadow investigation to create a 100-slide dossier with emails, text messages, telephone records and social media posts from journalists, victims and witnesses who made credible public allegations of harassment against commanders ,” Maloney wrote in the 29-page memo.

According to the committee’s investigation, the dossier compiled by Snyder’s representatives included Post Reporters, who would detail allegations of sexual harassment within the team’s workplace, and attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represented more than 40 former employees of the team. We do.

“During the investigation of Mr. Ms. Wilkinson, Snyder’s legal team made several presentations to the NFL, one of which included a 100-page PowerPoint slide detailing the personal communications and social media activity of Washington Post journalists and former employees, Maloney’s memo said.

The committee found that the 100-slide dossier was prepared from “outrageous litigation tactics and information obtained through private investigators who targeted victims and witnesses of the commanders’ toxic work environment.” Snyder’s goal, Maloney wrote, “appears to have been to produce an explanatory narrative to present to the NFL, showing that he was not responsible for the Commanders’ toxic work environment but rather its was instead the victim of a coordinated haze campaign.”

NFL Team fined $10 million Last July, based on the findings of Wilkinson’s investigation. The league then also announced that Snyder would hand over control of the franchise’s daily operations to his wife, Tanya, the team’s co-CEO, for an unspecified period. She has been representing the team in league meetings ever since.

The committee’s investigation found that Snyder and his attorneys sent private investigators to the homes of former team cheerleaders seeking abusive information about Allen and through more than 400,000 emails on Allen’s dormant team account in an effort to convince the NFL. Comb from that Allen was responsible for “the team’s toxic work culture.”

Snyder fired Allen in December 2019 after a decade as team president. Allen was not immediately available for comment.

The committee found that attorneys representing Snyder provided Wilkinson’s firm and the NFL with Allen emails. Maloney’s memo states that a lawyer for Snyder “identified a specific inappropriate Bruce Allen email, in an effort to demonstrate that Bruce Allen had created a toxic environment among Washington commanders.”

Many of those emails later appeared in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, some of which contained then-Las Vegas Raiders coach John Gruden, who used racist, homophobic, and anti-feminist language during his seven-year correspondence with Allen. Gruden worked for ESPN. Gruden resigns From Raiders after the email surfaced.

Tanya Snyder Told fellow NFL franchise owners A league meeting in New York in October said that neither she nor her husband were responsible for the leaked emails, several people present at the meeting said at the time.

gruden Filed a lawsuit against the NFL in November, accusing the league and Goodell of using leaked emails to “publicly sabotage Gruden’s career” and pressured him to resign. The NFL has said it did not leak Gruden’s emails.

The league is now conducting a second investigation into Snyder which is Supervised by Attorney Mary Jo White, Goodell has promised to release those findings after he declined to release Wilkinson’s findings, saying that Wilkinson only gave an oral report to the league.

Maloney’s summary of the congressional investigation noted that the NFL’s initial contract with Wilkinson asked him to give a written report and make recommendations, but the league later “changed its plan.” Maloney’s memo accused the team and the NFL of obstructing the investigation of both Wilkinson and the congressional panel.

The memo also cites instances in which Snyder took no action against coaches and senior staff, yet punished female employees for engaging in consensual relationships with male employees. David Pocken, the team’s former chief operating officer, told the committee That when Snyder learned that a coach had caught a public relations employee, Snyder declined to take action against the coach and instead directed that the PR staff “stay away from the coach.”

Pocken also testified that Snyder fired female employees who were involved in consensual relationships with male members of the team or its employees. He cited the dismissal of two cheerleaders for their relationship with former tight end Chris Cooley.

“Female employees were fired, male employees were – with no effect other than being banned from extracurricular sex with cheerleaders,” Maloney’s summary states.

Another former COO for the team, Brian Lafemina, testified that when Snyder was informed of the sexual harassment complaints made against former broadcaster Larry Michaels, he dismissed the allegations, saying that Michael was a “beloved” who “hurt someone”. Won’t deliver.” Michael later resigned.

Former Team Executive Jason Friedman Told the committee that the team’s culture “glorifies drinking and feminization.”

The committee had previously given detailed information on Friedman’s allegations of financial irregularities against the team in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission. The team has denied those allegations.

At the Congressional Roundtable in February, Tiffany Johnston, the team’s former cheerleader and marketing manager, told committee members That Snyder harassed her at a team dinner, placed his hand on her thigh and pressed her towards his limo. Snyder called the allegations directly against him “outright lies.”

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