Dan Snyder, owner of Washington Leaders, is no stranger to controversy. Whether it was about suing delinquent season ticket holders or refusing to change Washington’s former nickname until his feet were fixed in the fire, the name Snyder has long been synonymous with the worst qualities that NFL owners have in the eyes of NFL fans.
Tuesday, Washington Post Mark Musk and Nikki Gapvala have published a joint report on the leaders presenting information that the NFL will have to take seriously — specifically, the manipulation of NFL revenue sharing by Snyder and the leaders.
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As disgusting as it may be, the surest way to get into trouble as an NFL owner is to mess with other owners’ money. And since Congress said the leaders didn’t get security deposits back, had too many financial ledgers, and hid the revenue, that could be a problem for Snyder and his football team.
Congressional accusations of leaders
In a 20-page letter to the Federal Trade Commission, Congress said the leaders were running a years-long process of hiding revenue that gave them higher profits. Former employee Jason Friedman was the whistleblower in the process after he met with a congressional committee about a separate investigation into the culture within the football workplace in Washington.
According to ESPN, Friedman’s allegations point in the direction of as much as $5 million in funds withheld via the bug.
The letter says the leaders kept two books: one that was shared with the NFL for revenue-sharing purposes and the other with more real revenue. Snyder allegedly had access to the second book.
Deposits refer to refundable security deposits made on premium seats available when FedEx Field opened in 1997. After Snyder took over the team in 1999, Friedman claimed Washington employees were required to continue to make it difficult for people to redeem their deposits. Washington put the deposits in its pocket either forgotten or unknown.
Why is The Leaders’ Book, Snyder’s second book, so dangerous?
Embezzlement is never a good business practice, but embezzlement from 31 notably wealthy people is a good way to get plenty of hot water. If Washington does have a second book as the committee believes, it would undermine revenue-sharing rules in the NFL.
According to Friedman, Washington has an acronym for underreporting: “juice.”
Friedman provided an example of an email he sent to former Washington CFO, Stephen Choi, asking for help in processing $55 tickets priced at $44. An additional $11 per ticket applied to Notre Dame vs. Navy that occurred that year, as the college game was non-shareable revenue, thus circumventing a 40 percent revenue-sharing agreement between the 32 clubs.
According to Friedman, this practice ceased in 2017.
What do Congressional allegations mean to Schneider?
In short: a problem. Snyder’s messing with the money of the other 31 teams is the thing that could quickly kick him out of The Club. More and more has begun to talk about his property practices with Washington, and the result is a veritable palette of leads and photographs.
In this case, the biggest scandal is not necessarily the “latest”. This is the kind of scandal that could end with Snyder’s cost of ownership if it turns out he was withholding funds.
What’s next for the Washington and NFL leaders?
It certainly looks like the NFL is trying to build some sort of case against Snyder. The release of Jon Gruden’s racist, anti-gay emails that led to his expulsion from the Las Vegas Raiders last year was part of an investigation into Snyder.
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Per Tom Pellisero“We continue to cooperate with the Oversight Committee and have submitted more than 210,000 pages of documents,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said on Wednesday. “The NFL has engaged former Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White to review the serious issues raised by the committee. “.
Needless to say, the wheels of justice go slowly in such cases. 210,000 pages of documents means months of digging through a lot of information, so nothing will happen right away. However, it looks like we’ll continue to get information about this investigation as more of Snyder’s alleged follies surface.